£31 million boost will help keep region at forefront of low carbon vehicle sector

A total of £31 million has been awarded to projects across the West Midlands region to further develop the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.

The schemes were awarded the funding by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton will build a new site alongside its current testing tracks where automated vehicles will be assessed at the limits of their speed and handling. The company, supported by Coventry University, will be given £13m towards the project with a total cost expected to be £26m.

The Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) has been given £17.6m towards a £25.3m scheme to set up real-world test environments in Coventry and Birmingham. WMG will be supported by Amey, AVL, Costain, Coventry University, HORIBA MIRA, Transport for West Midlands and Wireless Infrastructure Group and its test bed will be based on 80 kilometres of urban road in Birmingham and Coventry.

The projects are the first to be funded from the government's £100m connected and autonomous vehicles testing infrastructure programme and will be fully operational in the next 18 months to two years.

The funding is a big boost to innovation and research in the region. And it comes as further recognition of Warwickshire's high reputation in those areas, says Steph Williams, an Inward Investment Officer at Warwickshire County Council.

"Coventry and Warwickshire has a long automotive history with big names such as Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Geely and the London Electric Vehicle company along with niche manufacturers such as CAD CAM Automotive, RDM Group and Detroit Electric," said Steph.

"The area remains the automotive hub for research and innovation and many international companies have opened UK operations to access assets and expertise within the supply chain here.

"With vehicle manufacturers racing to meet future low carbon targets, this area has increased its R&D activity within electric and connected vehicles. We are lucky to have such a high number of research institutions and investment from UK Government to be at the forefront of vehicle technology."

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