Meridian partners line up at RACE to demonstrate the transport of the future

RACE was recently the venue for a demonstration day by the Meridian driverless vehicle programme.

Meridian is a £100M Government-backed partnership described as ‘the gateway to self-driving vehicle development in the UK’.

It brings together key players from industry, academia and government with the aim of developing the technology the UK will need to make autonomous vehicles a common sight on our roads in the future. With the global connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) sector predicted to be worth £907 billion by 2035, Meridian also aims to build up the UK’s capability to compete in this market.

UKAEA is part of one of the first four Meridian projects, which sees RACE teaming up with vehicle testing specialists Millbrook Group to form the Millbrook-Culham Test and Evaluation Environment. This is creating a series of tracks to mimic a range of real-life driving environments where automated vehicles can be put through their paces before going on to public roads.

The event at Culham enabled the Meridian team to see the technology in action and discuss progress so far. There was an impressive demonstration of driverless car technology – pictured is a Millbrook car showing how quickly it can respond to a dummy stepping out into the road. Vehicles from partner companies StreetDrone and Oxbotica also took part.

Meridian CEO Daniel Ruiz said: “I’m impressed by RACE’s aspirations and their flexibility for testing, combined with the fact that they’ve already got companies of world repute based here and others coming to participate. I think they are going to be a really useful asset for Meridian.”

Millbrook’s Chief CAV Engineer Peter Stoker added: “This is a great environment to come and work in because of its normalness and normal roads. It’s a bridge towards the public highway from the strictly controlled environment that we have, so it complements what we do. I’ve had nothing but co-operation and warm friendship from the team at RACE, so long may it continue!”

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