Connected and autonomous vehicle project aims to steer the next generation of automated public transport

A £13.4 million initiative to create a driverless transport testing area based in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and nearby Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London is due to be up and running by spring 2019.

Loughborough University, the lead academic partner, has been awarded £500,000 as part of the project to develop a research programme enabling a real-world working test bed for connected and autonomous (driverless) vehicles.

The Smart Mobility Living Lab: London will enable companies to trial their ideas, technology and services within complex public environments, to help them develop new vehicle systems and big city transport applications.

Professor Pete Thomas, of the Design School, who is leading Loughborough’s involvement, said: “This is an exciting venture to be a part of and will place Loughborough and Loughborough London at the heart of a world leading research and development facility for connected and autonomous vehicles.

“The award of the £13.4 million to the Living Lab consortium provides a fantastic opportunity for Loughborough to focus its research around this rapidly developing new socio-technical area.

“Intelligent Mobility will have a major impact on future transport and this test bed will enable the University in Loughborough and in London to be at the forefront of new developments.”

The project partners, led by TRL, also include Transport for London, Costain, Cisco, Cubic, DG Cities and the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The test bed will include a wide range of facilities including connected and instrumented road infrastructure, mule vehicles for new automation systems, private networks and mobility data capture, 5G and DCRS connectivity and more specialist research equipment.

Loughborough’s contribution will include research and development into instrumented and connected roads, alongside other consortium Partner contributions including: a vehicle fleet for experimental purposes; cooperative intersection management systems; high accuracy GPS; 5G and large-scale vehicle to anything communication capability; high performance data capture and analysis system and other capabilities.

Prof Thomas said: “We will be developing a new research programme that takes advantage of the facilities and the rapidly developing mobility environment. Companies such as Ford will be increasing their presence at Here East (LUL) to take advantage of the teaching, research and innovation facilities.

“We will also be working with industry, both large and SME, to identify educational and CPD needs.

“In addition, there will be specific research equipment to meet existing LU needs while researchers will be able to access the much wider range of equipment in the Living Lab – including roadside, data, communications and vehicles.”

The facilities will bring new research opportunities for many parts of the University from automation and robotics, to connectivity and communications, human factors and business areas.

Professor Steve Rothberg, Loughborough’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for research, said: “Being part of the Living Lab initiative builds on our world-class research in automotive engineering and we are excited by the opportunity to develop the CAV technologies that will revolutionise how we travel.

“We welcome the chance to be part of driving forward this significant agenda from our London campus.”

View the press release on the Loughborough University website for further information and resources.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. 

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey and named University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018. 

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018, 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2019. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. 

The University has been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which recognises institutions that deliver consistently outstanding teaching that is of the highest quality found in the UK. 

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking. 

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.