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MERIDIAN to accelerate connected and autonomous vehicle technology

MERIDIAN – a government-backed, industry-led platform dedicated to the development of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology in the UK – has been launched by the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry, Claire Perry.

Funded jointly through industry partners and the government’s £100M CAV investment scheme, MERIDIAN looks to cultivate a “cluster of excellence” around driverless vehicle testing, with the M40 corridor between Coventry and London the focal point.

Here, MERIDIAN hopes to accelerate innovation, build intellectual capital and funnel overseas investment towards the UK.

The launch forms part of the government’s Industrial Strategy – announced at the top of the year – and follows a call for evidence from the Centre of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in May 2016, which explored how the UK could integrate and improve upon existing CAV testing facilities.

“At the heart of our Industrial Strategy is a commitment to delivering world class science, research and innovation,” said Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry. “The MERIDIAN co-ordination hub embodies this ambition, creating a globally recognisable brand that will bring the automotive sector, academia and Government together behind a common set of strategic goals.

A report we are publishing today predicts that by 2035 the global market for CAV technologies will be worth £907Bn, and through Government investment and collaboration with industry in this area we will ensure that the UK becomes one of the global ‘go to’ destinations for the development of this technology.”

With sites across both the Coventry and Stratford branches of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), MERIDIAN will now work towards joining up existing facilities to create a concentrated cluster of testing that covers all aspects of CAV technology.

Graham Hoare, Director of Global Vehicle Evaluation and Verification at Ford and Chair of the Auto Council Technology Group, said: “These technologies are coming and will profoundly change our understanding of mobility. The UK has long-standing capabilities across many of the sectors supporting new vehicle technologies and an approach that is more open and collaborative than other markets.

“We recognise that these exciting new technologies are broader than the automotive sector and we welcome the different ideas and perspectives that this brings. We look forward to working with MERIDIAN to develop, articulate, and amplify our national offer.”

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