In a major leap towards autonomous vehicle adoption, the UK’s first facility to test and support the development of automated parking solutions is under construction in the Midlands.
‘Trusted Autonomous Parking’ (Park-IT) is being delivered by Nuneaton-based global engineering firm, HORIBA MIRA, in partnership with Coventry University.
As part of the project, HORIBA MIRA will work with Coventry University to develop a multi-storey car park, on-road parking bays and parking lot environments on its Proving Ground, providing real-world parking situations to support the development of self-parking solutions.
The parking areas will be co-located in the HORIBA MIRA City Circuit, a safe, comprehensible and fully controllable purpose-built ‘cityscape’ test track environment, allowing verification of the transition from an urban driving environment into a dedicated parking facility. The facility will be supported by a ‘digital twin’ so users can replicate parking scenarios in simulation, enabling a wide range of CAV driving and parking scenarios to be tested in a virtual environment before being validated at the facility.
Park-IT is one of eight funded projects that create Testbed UK led by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Zenzic the self-driving UK hub organisation, which was created by Government and industry to accelerate the self-driving revolution in the UK.
Self-driving parking will bring significant benefits to the public through the services it will enable, such as autonomous valet parking. In order to realise those benefits, challenges within the self-driving environment – tight locations, restricted visibility, lack of GPS (in covered locations), must be addressed. Park-IT will provide a world-class location to solve those challenges, and test innovative services, in a safe and configurable environment.
This latest activity will play an instrumental role in ensuring the functional performance and safety of self-parking vehicles, as the Government continues to push ahead with its ambition to see autonomous vehicles on public roads at scale, in the foreseeable future.
Chris Reeves, Head of CAV Technologies at HORIBA MIRA, said: “As the Government continues to press ahead with its vision for an autonomous and connected transport sector, it is vital that the integrity of all technologies is fully tested and verified to ensure consumer confidence.
“Park-IT brings a unique CAV testing facility to the UK that will help to ensure the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles are safe and secure. Autonomous valet parking will be one of the first wide-scale adopted examples of highly automated driving, and the creation of Park-IT will allow for the validation of this technology in a safe and repeatable way.
“Combining our extensive engineering expertise with Coventry University’s research capability enables us to build upon existing knowledge and projects to deliver a comprehensive testing and development ecosystem for CAV.”
The Park-IT project follows recent success for the Midlands-based duo, who are also delivering TIC-IT; a bespoke test track on HORIBA MIRA’s Proving Ground. TIC-IT will be a safe setting in which CAVs can be tested to the limits of controllability.