A “first-of-its-kind ecosystem” for developing connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) is nearing completion at Horiba Mira‘s Nuneaton-based technology campus.

The  £100 million investment supports the UK’s industrial strategy to lead on the deployment and verification of advanced mobility.

Set to provide the country with the most complete environment for the acceleration of future mobility, the new autonomous vehicle development centre, dubbed by Horiba Mira as “globally unique”, will provide the UK with the most complete environment for the acceleration of future mobility.

The new autonomous vehicle development centre – known as ASSURED CAV – has been developed by Horiba Mira, the advanced engineering, research and product testing company. It has been specifically designed to enable the automotive industry, policy makers and government to develop autonomous vehicle technology, ensuring it is robust to the wide range of eventualities seen on public roads, before being released to consumers.

Far more than simply a location for vehicle testing, says Horiba Mira, ASSURED CAV is a location where organisations can lead in the development and verification of self-driving technologies, and where the learning can be applied to influence future legislation, policy and insurance, to ensure the future of autonomous vehicles will improve lives.

ASSURED CAV’s combination of facilities and capabilities are set to open in March 2021 and is a culmination of £100 million investment made over recent years.

The site includes a high-speed facility enabling autonomous vehicles to be tested at the limit of controllability – specifically designed for performing scenario-based testing including traffic merging and lane keep assist, conducted to international regulatory protocols, and urban environments where vehicles will experience pedestrians and cyclists, complex junctions and on-street parking.

The testing of automated car parking will also be available in the purpose-built multi-storey car park which will support the development of automated valet parking. Car passengers will exit their vehicle, for it to then find its own parking space, returning to the passenger at a designated waiting area when requested.

The ultrafast 5G mobile private network supported by Vodafone, announced earlier this month, will allow vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to be verified, as well as testing infotainment and cybersecurity.

The site’s has an extensive portfolio of digital replicas where simulated testing can be scaled, reinforcing physical testing. It can also be accessed virtually so technology can be tested from anywhere in the world. Testing can also be carried out on the campus’s onsite network of  roads, adding to the 300km network of adjacent CAV-enabled public roads equipped with a range of intelligent transport systems enabling real-world road trials

There is also a full complement of advanced robotic targets and supporting junction layouts adhering to relevant protocols for a full suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) testing .

ASSURED CAV supports the government’s industrial strategy to establish the UK as a leader in the development and commercialisation of CAVs, which, according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), could yield the UK economy £62 billion per year by 2030.The world-class hub will also strengthen the case for investing in the UK automotive industry at a time when the sector faces intense pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit uncertainty.

Declan Allen, Managing Director at Horiba Mira said: “We’ve been on a journey to create ASSURED CAV; it represents many years of intense research and investment to bring together one of the most comprehensive CAV validation ecosystems in the world.

“At a time when the automotive industry is facing significant headwinds, we’ve been steadfast in our approach to delivering this investment and we’re extremely proud to provide an ecosystem which will allow the automotive industry, as well as complementary industries, to develop and prove their self-driving technology. This is a unique opportunity for companies to accelerate their activities to lead the industry – it will allow companies to bring forward their activities in this sector in an efficient and optimised manner, enabling them to solve the real-world problems of integrating their automated products into the public roads, whilst also importantly achieving consumer acceptance.”

Chris Reeves, Head of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies at Horiba Mira, said: “Supported by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles as part of CAM Testbed UK, ASSURED CAV demonstrates that Horiba Mira is again at the forefront of Government and industry’s collaborative approach to ensuring the UK is the best place in the world to develop and deploy CAM.

“Although we’ve seen huge strides made in CAV technologies in recent years, the overriding challenge for the industry is giving consumers confidence that CAVs are safe enough to be on our roads. Our new ASSURED CAV ecosystem does just that and is a significant milestone in helping CAV developers bring their vehicles to market. Not only will ASSURED CAV help to ensure a seamless development process, it will also foster the innovations and cross-industry partnerships needed to speed up the self-driving revolution and realise the huge economic and societal benefits it will bring.”

ASSURED CAV enables leading manufacturers of self-driving technology to design, develop and test them from one globally accessible location – bringing with it benefits in terms of logistics by reducing prototypes and team movements. With mounting Brexit and coronavirus-related challenges, ASSURED CAV negates the need to send teams and products to multiple locations to fulfil engineering and test requirements, reducing time and costs in an industry where the level of required investment is incredibly high. As an added asset, automakers can base themselves at Horiba Mira through the MIRA Technology Park and sit alongside over 35 established mobility providers working on the latest technologies.