ServCity: a project making autonomous mobility a reality in the UK’s cities

ServCity aims at deploying cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technology in complex built-up environments.

ServCity, the UK’s newest autonomous mobility service research project, has reached an important milestone and begun its testing phase on the streets of London, to help cities solve how they can harness the latest autonomous vehicle technologies and successfully incorporate them into a complex urban environment.

ServCity is jointly funded by government and industry, the government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility fund is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Over three years, six partners – Nissan, the Connected Places Catapult, TRL, Hitachi Europe, the University of Nottingham and SBD Automotive – will work together to develop a blueprint that directly tackles the barriers to deploying autonomous vehicles in the UK’s cities.

After months of development, simulation and testing on private test tracks the ServCity project has now reached the stage where the ServCity Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) is being tested on the streets of London at the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) based in Greenwich.

Built upon a 100% electric Nissan LEAF, the ServCity CAV from October 21, will be put through its paces and tested in the heart of the capital in a complex urban environment. ServCity will be leveraging the full capabilities of the SMLL by using the roadside sensors and processing power to create a cooperative infrastructure environment, which will add to the CAVs own situational awareness.

Through a combination of test simulation, end-user experience research and real-world trials, ServCity will inform how cities can exploit the potential of future mobility solutions and accelerate their deployment. Concentrating on the three key areas of technology, people and scalability, ServCity aims to ensure the user experience is as intuitive, inclusive and “engaging” as possible.

This project, backed by Government funding, will not only help make autonomous vehicles more user friendly, but also give users confidence that they can respond quickly and safely and to all types of challenges they face on the roads.

Bob Bateman (Project Manager) from Nissan explains: “We are extremely proud to be a part of the ServCity project and are excited to trial our 100% electric Nissan LEAF as test vehicles. Our Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy strives to achieve a mobility future that is more electric, more autonomous and more connected and we look forward to working in collaboration with ServCity’s other partners to achieve this.”

Edward Mayo (Programme Manager) from the Connected Places Catapult said: “The Connected Places Catapult supports organisations in harnessing emerging technologies and developing new services. ServCity is a perfect example of how we can use this approach to deploy autonomous vehicles on a wide scale to achieve the aim of Intelligent Mobility and improve the movement of both people and goods. The commencement of testing in London represents an important milestone to the ServCity project.”

Lucien Linders (General Manager of SMLL) adds: “As world leaders in creating the future of transport, TRL is committed to developing safe systems that are accessible to everyone. TRL’s Smart Mobility Living Lab is a real world urban testbed whose roadside sensor infrastructure and facilities support the development process for CAVs to acquire better shared situational awareness.

“As the flagship urban test facility of CAM Testbed UK in London, we are uniquely placed to test and trial future mobility services in preparation for their commercial deployment. We continue to be very proud of offering our expertise to this ground-breaking ServCity project and working together with the other project partners”

Nick Blake (Chief Innovation Strategist) from Hitachi Europe explains: “The team at Hitachi’s European Research & Development Group is focused on tackling the complex technical challenges involved in autonomous driving in congested urban environments. Our role in the ServCity project is to develop the technology behind predicting – and safely responding to – other moving objects such as pedestrians, cyclists and cars, as well as delivering accurate and robust localisation solutions.”

Gary Burnett (Chair of Transport Human Factors) from the Human Factors Research Group at the University of Nottingham stated: “Our team brings significant expertise in conducting and analysing user studies to evaluate human-computer interactions. We are excited by our role as part of ServCity to generate theories, models and methods behind the user experience of the vehicle occupants. To this end, we will ensure that the design and development of the autonomous vehicle service is user-centred and truly meets consumer needs.”

Andrew Hart (Director) from SBD Automotive explains: “Robotaxis have the potential to fundamentally transform mobility for both consumers and the cities they operate in. The user experience lies at the heart of that transformation, as operators will need to carefully balance customer expectations with real-world technological constraints. SBD is proud to be a part of the ServCity project, bringing our decades of hands-on experience from working with car makers to help define and test different approaches to delivering a seamless Robotaxi experience.”

About ServCity

ServCity is taking an integrated approach to solving the numerous challenges around implementing autonomous vehicles in our cities.

Deploying these new mobility services cannot work if they are introduced in silos. There are too many dependencies and factors outside of service providers’ field of vision to work independently.

That’s why autonomous mobility services need to be looked at in a joined-up way.

Our aim is to create a blueprint – a set of insights and guidelines – for how autonomous mobility services can become an everyday experience in our cities, for everyone. Our research findings will help provide practical guidance for policymakers, budget holders, transport providers, technology providers – and anyone with a role to play in future mobility.

www.servcity.co.uk

About Nissan in Europe
Nissan designs, engineers and manufactures vehicles in Europe which are tailored to the needs of European customers, including its pioneering crossovers Qashqai and Juke, and the first mass-market 100% electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF. Pursuing a goal of zero emissions and zero facilities on the road and with a 360 degree approach to the future of mobility, Nissan is rethinking how cars are being made, powered, driven and how they integrate into society. The EV36Zero hub announced for Nissan’s UK operations will support Nissan’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and will see future production of electric vehicles and EV batteries, powered by 100% renewable electricity.

For more information about Nissan’s products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit nissan-global.com.

About TRL Limited

TRL is a global centre for innovation in transport and mobility. It provides world-leading research, technology and software solutions for surface transport modes and related markets engaged in intelligent, new mobility innovations.

Independent from government, industry and academia, TRL helps organisations create global transport systems that are safe, clean, affordable, liveable and efficient.

Established in 1933 within the British Government as the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory, TRL was subsequently privatised in 1996. Today, TRL has more than 1,000 clients across 145 countries, driving positive societal and economic benefit worldwide.

Core areas of expertise include infrastructure asset management & asset technologies; intelligent transport systems & traffic operations; sustainability & healthy mobility; vehicle safety engineering & technology research; major incident investigations; human factors safety & behavioural science.

TRL is strategically investing, producing disruptive research and delivering innovation linked to:

  • Connected & self-driving vehicles
  • Ultra-low emission technologies
  • Shared mobility services
  • Intelligent asset information
  • Big data, machine learning & artificial intelligence.

Headquartered in the UK, nearly 1/3rd of TRL’s business is with overseas organisations. Its international focus covers Europe, India, Africa & Middle East, plus wider Commonwealth countries, supported by strategic collaborations in North America and Asia Pacific.

More information can be found at www.trl.co.uk

About Connected Places Catapult

Connected Places Catapult is the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and places. We provide impartial ‘innovation as a service’ for public bodies, businesses, and infrastructure providers to catalyse step-change improvements in the way people live, work and travel. We connect businesses and public sector leaders to cutting-edge research to spark innovation and grow new markets. We run technology demonstrators and SME accelerators to scale new solutions that drive growth, spread prosperity, and eliminate carbon.

More information can be found at cp.catapult.org.uk

About Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Hitachi Europe Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., is headquartered in Buckinghamshire, UK. The company is focused on its Social Innovation Business – delivering innovations that answer society’s challenges. Hitachi Europe and its subsidiary companies offers a broad range of information & telecommunication systems; rail systems, power and industrial systems; industrial components & equipment; automotive systems, digital media & consumer products and others with operations and research & development laboratories across EMEA.

Hitachi is a Principal Partner of COP26, playing a leading role in the efforts to achieve a decarbonized society and become a climate change innovator. Hitachi strives to achieve carbon neutrality at all its business sites by 2030 and across the company’s entire value chain by 2050.

 For more information, visit http://www.hitachi.eu

About the University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia – part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner – locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

About SBD Automotive

SBD Automotive is a global consultancy firm specialising in automotive technologies. For 25 years, through independent research, insight, and consultancy, SBD Automotive has been helping vehicle manufacturers and their partners to create smarter, more secure, better connected, and increasingly autonomous cars. With a reputation for robust data and expert advice, as well as an ability to attract and retain the industry’s most talented specialists, SBD Automotive operates a global network of local offices in the key automotive hubs, including the UK, Germany, Japan, North America, China, and India.

If you would like to learn more, please visit www.sbdautomotive.com

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