WMG at The University of Warwick, Solihull Council, National Highways, Transport for West Midlands, ZF, Aurrigo, Syselek and Liftango have successfully secured £300,000 to deliver a project looking into the feasibility of a self-driving shuttle service in the West Midlands.
The project will explore how a new automated transport link between Blythe Valley Business Park, near Shirley, and the new HS2 rail station in Solihull could operate in the future. The feasibility study will consider all aspects of the technology required in order to provide a safe and reliable automated public transport service between these important commercial centres. The proposed route would use the existing road network travelling along the M42 from Junction 4 and utilise the new Junction 5a currently under construction.
As a world-class research institution with leading capabilities in the verification and validation of safety assurance of self-driving technologies, WMG will apply its Operational Design Domain (ODD) based Safety Assurance research methodologies to the specific project challenges.
This project is part of the wider Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) initiative, led by WMG. The MFM vision is to achieve zero road incidents, net-zero emissions and inclusive transport in the West Midlands. MFM enables stakeholders from across mobility to address the interlinked challenges of technology, policy, and behaviour to realise the vision.
Cllr Ken Hawkins, Solihull Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Infrastructure, said: “Connected Automated Vehicle (CAV) technology has the potential revolutionise the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas. Working with our partners we are excited to be undertaking this latest project.
“We’ve already carried out a series of successful pathfinder trials here in Solihull, using our own automated shuttle, and have led the way in showing how it is possible to practically and safely incorporate automated vehicles into our existing transport infrastructure. We are now taking the next step and undertaking the vital feasibility work necessary in order to start thinking about more ambitious deployments and establishing new commercial public transport services.
“The outcomes from the study are likely to inform self-driving mobility challenges not just here in Solihull but nationwide.”
Jonathan Smith, Midlands Future Mobility Programme Manager said: “The business case for scaling new mobility solutions is complex. It involves a granular understanding of the use case, safety, users, operations, and infrastructure. This project brings together a group of diverse experts to apply state of the art research and knowledge to address this question. Of critical importance is that the outcomes of this feasibility will inform mobility business cases both in the Midlands and the UK as a whole.”
Cover picture courtesy of University of Warwick
More information about this project
Partners: Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (Lead), Aurrigo, Syselek (Uk) Ltd, Liftango Ltd, ZF Services UK Limited, West Midlands Combined Authority, Highways England, University of Warwick
Grant awarded: £300,000 (£197,664 from Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles’ Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility programme and balance is made up by the commercial partners).
Find out more about WMG’s Validation and Verification research here: Verification and Validation (warwick.ac.uk)
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