Midlands consortium showcases future car and highway technology

Cutting edge devices that allow cars to talk to each other and to the road have been successfully demonstrated by a Midlands-based project set up to develop and test the technology.

The UK Connected Intelligence Transport Environment (UK CITE) consortium, which includes Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), showcased its latest innovations at the Jaguar Land Rover site in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

The demonstration was part of UK CITE’s work to create one of the world’s most advanced environments for testing connected and autonomous vehicles.

On show were some of the technological advances already made by the consortium including ‘talking car’ technologies that enable vehicles to communicate with each other and the road infrastructure.

The technology gives drivers advanced warning on road conditions such as alerts that the car in front - which may not be in line of sight - has applied its brakes.

This intelligent information about road conditions is a key benefit to all connected vehicles, whether manned or autonomous, helping drivers avoid potential accidents.

Mike Waters, director of policy, strategy and innovation at TfWM which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said: “The consortium is using a globally unique combination of wireless technologies that enables us to carry out real-world testing in a safe and managed way.

“This sort of world leading research and development is yet another example of how the West Midlands is increasingly home to the industries of tomorrow, helping to grow our regional economy and create jobs for the 21st century.”

Attending the demonstration were UK CITE partners including automotive industry representatives, technology and infrastructure developers and operators and academics.

Devices on show included the consortium’s Emergency Vehicle Warning (EVW), Emergency Electronic Brake Light (EEBL), Road Works Warning (RWW) and Traffic Condition Warning (TCW).

Also attending was Claire Lewis, senior business development manager at lead consortium partner, Visteon, which is responsible for the overall technical architecture of the project, including multi-path connected car hardware and software and a smartphone application.

“These technologies are set to have a wide societal and infrastructural impact,” she said.

“With advanced warnings of emergency vehicles on the road we will see response times improve, as traffic proactively responds to their presence.

“In the same vein, a more informed understanding of road conditions will allow traffic pressures to ease on the road.”