A new multi-million-pound centre for intelligent transport innovations under construction in Nuneaton, Warwickshire could help make future cars safer and more fuel efficient.
The £6.5m innovITS - ADVANCE centre, supported by Advantage West Midlands, will bring together UK transport systems specialists from MIRA and Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).
The new centre is designed for the development of intelligent transport systems (ITS) technologies for consumer products.
Some of the possible innovations being considered for development at the centre include autonomous vehicles, car trains, and collision avoidance and mitigation systems.
The first phase of innovITS - ADVANCE centre is expected to be open in the late Spring of 2010. It is envisaged that four further phases of development, which fall within the boundaries of MIRA’s existing site in Nuneaton, will be opened in the coming years.
The collaborators behind innovITS - ADVANCE believe the rapid emergence of innovations in electronics, mobile telecommunications and navigational technologies offers the prospect for advances in the way that road vehicles are able to operate and interact with the highways on which they travel.
It is believed that until now a significant barrier to the development of ITS innovations has been the lack of a secure testing environment that allows combined vehicle, highway, telecoms and navigation system innovations to be rigorously tested and developed in a highly controlled manner.
The collaborators behind innovITS - ADVANCE believe the reason for this is that ITS-based products typically cut across longstanding industrial boundaries, so no automaker, electronics company, telecoms provider or highway authority is likely to have such a facility at its disposal.
Phil Pettitt, chief executive of innovITS, said intelligent transportation systems offer significant potential to improve the quality of life and sustainability of road transportation throughout the world.
‘The creation of innovITS - ADVANCE, in collaboration with MIRA and TRL, aims to remove this roadblock to progress and unlock the benefits of a safer, more fuel efficient and sustainable future for transportation,’ he added.