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Aecom-led consortium to trial autonomous pods on-demand mobility service

Multi-disciplinary infrastructure consultancy, Aecom, is to lead a consortium that has secured more than £4.2m (US$5.3m) of funding from Innovate UK and the Center for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) to deliver a pilot scheme that could pave the way for the use of connected and autonomous vehicles to move people around airports, hospitals, business parks, shopping and tourist centers.

The pilot project includes the design, development and testing of new autonomous and connected pods on-demand (POD), culminating in on-road public trials at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Comprising 20 partnering organizations, the Aecom-led connected and autonomous POD on-road implementation (CAPRI) consortium brings together academic institutions, businesses, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and public sector authorities with a range of skills, knowledge and needs in the connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) arena. The project will include the development of the next generation of PODs, as well as the systems and technologies that will allow the vehicles to navigate safely and seamlessly in both pedestrian and road environments. The consortium will also look at how the network can harness data to enable location, positioning and on-demand services. It is anticipated that evidence collected through the pilot will provide sufficient detail to enable and support a new vehicle classification for the PODs.

The project includes four trials, with the first on private land at Filton Airfield near Bristol, where consortium member YTL Corporation is developing a major new community. The aim of this trial will be to test and validate the performance of the new generation PODs. The second trial will test a public service in a shopping center car lot to assess performance in busy pedestrian areas. The final two trials will be at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a large and diverse estate that includes retail, recreation, residential and business centers. The first of these trials will test a public on-demand mobility service in pedestrian areas, with the PODs identifying and navigating the best routes. The final public trial will test the PODs on a network of roads around the park, with the service interacting with traffic control systems.

An important aspect of the scheme will be safety and security. For the first time, the project will apply ‘accidentology’ analysis to PODs to identify potential causes of accidents that will require testing and evaluation in the real world, while using state-of-the-art techniques to simulate other scenarios, therefore reducing the need for real-world testing. The consortium will also undertake a system-wide cyber-physical security analysis to identify how to protect the POD systems from being compromised. The CAPRI consortium was awarded the funding as part of a CCAV and Innovate UK competition to find projects that would deliver technical solutions for CAVs that provide real-world benefits to users and where the commercial benefit is clear.

The 20 CAPRI partners are: AECOM, AXA, Burges Salmon, Conigital, Dynniq, ESP Group, Fusion Processing, Heathrow, Loughborough University, NEXOR, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, South Gloucestershire Council, Transport Simulation Systems, University of Warwick, University of Bristol, Thingful, TVS, University of the West of England, Westfield, and YTL.

April 19, 2017

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