Innovate UK fund autonomous vehicle trial
An exciting project will be launched at Milton Park in the UK after a successful bid to Innovate UK. They were awarded for a £2.5m trial to use autonomous shuttle vehicles in and around the Park area. Milton Park is one of a number of partners in the consortium which is being led by First Group and that also includes Zipabout, Arrival and University of West of England as well as a number of others in the region:
Mainer Associates currently undertake BREEAM assessments at Milton Park for MEPC as part of their range of sustainability services in the Oxfordshire region and have welcomed the news of this major investment.
The objective of the new project is to halve car usage on the business park and the vehicles will interlink private roads and public roads at Milton Park to create an integrated service with nearby local transport. The vision will entail creating multi-modal Mobility as a Service, or Maas for short, using electric vehicles, and it is envisaged this model will be replicated in other areas in the long-term.
Innovate UK is part of the Innovation Agency, and the project is part of the government’s ambition to secure the UK’s place as a global leader in autonomous vehicles as outlined by Minister for Business & Energy, Richard Harrington. In a recent speech the minister remarked that the Milton Park initiative and other similar projects marked a significant investment as part of the Industrial Strategy that the government is currently implementing.
Pioneers in vehicle technologies
The Milton Park project will be one of the first to lead the way in adopting autonomous vehicles in the UK. Vehicles will be connected to the local infrastructure such as Didcot train station, offering people a viable alternative to single occupancy vehicles.
Not only will the new project help to alleviate the congestion on the roads in the area, but it will also offer sustainable, economic and environmental benefits. Vectos, a transport planning consultancy involved in advising on behavioural changes at Milton Park, predict a greener and cleaner environment as a consequence of the pioneering new developments.
Oxfordshire County Council who are also a member of the project consortium have shown a progressive approach from the outset, being the first council in the UK to support autonomous vehicles and advocate technology developments in transport from an early stage.