Meridian to invest in projects for sharing road transport data between infrastructure and connected or autonomous vehicles

Posted on: 18/05/2018

Meridian is to invest in two rounds of funding calls, most imminently relating to data sharing and standards.


Meridian was formed last year by government and industry to help nurture UK connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) capabilities, to help the sector be best placed to benefit from a global market forecast to be worth around £900 billion annually by 2035.

To refine the scope of a forthcoming competition, KTN hosted a workshop for industry and academia last month that offered some early insights into Meridian’s thinking, around data sharing, that it hopes can unlock a barrier to development and UK leadership in CAV research.

Meridian Mobility 1

Born out of a partnership between Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), Automotive Council and Advanced Propulsion Centre, Meridian was launched last September to support innovation in the development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, by establishing a technology cluster of testing and development centres and promote adoption of CAVs through cross-sector collaborations.

In addition to other government initiatives, Meridian is bringing together organisations from different industries to provide technical and financial support to UK CAV testing, including advanced development and validation, connected environments, data and cyber-security and new services development.

The first allocation of investments under the Meridian umbrella was announced by the government in October, to upgrade testing infrastructure. This £51 million commitment to develop four CAV testing facilities across five locations resulted from a funding competition now known as ‘Meridian Mobility 1’.

Four consortia led by HORIBA MIRA, Millbrook, TRL and Warwick Manufacturing Group were supported to form a national CAV testing infrastructure.

These projects set their sights on progressing from virtual computer simulations to real-world testing and included construction of testing facilities in Nuneaton, Warwickshire; a semi-controlled environment in Culham, Oxfordshire; and public testing grounds in Birmingham, Coventry and London.

Funding to enable sharing of road transportation data

At the Meridian Mobility 2 Competition Workshop РConnected Autonomous Vehicle Data on 10 April in London, Meridian’s Dr Richard Porter said he’d be looking for improvements in the availability and variety of data services; into whether public or private auto data repositories would be required (built on the concept of ‘equitable data sharing’); and whether it would be appropriate to support demonstrators of commercial services.

Risks and rewards

A real-life working CAV would likely demand vast amounts of data throughput and connectivity. Such a platform would need to combine technologies including high-powered real-time mobile computing or possibly artificial intelligence; be fully-integrated with sensors to provide awareness of surroundings; and be capable of coordinating with fixed networks and nearby vehicles – each of these requiring multiple-layers of redundancy.

New risks arise, but also new opportunities.

Securing connected cars from potential cyber-attacks will be a challenge, not least to passenger safety.

And with recent headlines concerning Cambridge Analytica and GDPR implementation fresh in delegates’ minds, the wealth of data available about such cars and occupants will need to be carefully managed, to maintain privacy and limit access.

Indeed, failures run the risk of delaying the benefits that CAVs could provide for society: of improved safety, mobility, efficiency and productivity.

Successful solutions would, therefore, remove significant concerns, and provide a basis for valuable new services.

What might equitable data sharing look like?

The workshop considered public and private data repositories, what equitable data sharing would be like, and how to incentivise ‘frictionless’ data sharing.

Delegates were also consulted on what the government’s role should be, what the challenges are from an industry point of view, which stakeholders should be brought together, and how a competition might address the challenges that arise.

Among lively discussions, the debates covered a perceived need for post-event analysis of data in order to be able to forensically examine the circumstances leading to an accident or unexpected error.

Uncertainties were expressed about the standards-making body most suited to write CAV data standards, and about data ownership and oversight. Natural justice suggests this may be the driver or owner of vehicles, but ownership models may change the dynamic and OEMs may themselves assert ownership. A compromise suggestion was to separate treatment of data relating to vehicle maintenance from vehicle guidance or safety-related data.

Data standards, it was thought, should be compatible across borders, and it was suggested the aerospace sector could have much to contribute.

Briefing events in early June

Looking ahead to the competition, Dr Daniel Ruiz, CEO of Meridian, said, “We welcome participation from organisations in the automotive, telecommunications, transport infrastructure, mobility, simulation and analytics industries and others who may wish to engage with the opportunities that will be enabled with the latest grant funding programme.”

The workshop presentation slides are available to download.


There will be a briefing and networking event supporting the upcoming Meridian Mobility 2 competition:

-      Meridian Mobility 2: 11 June 2018, London and Webcast

In addition, a CAV Data and Meridian Mobility 3 РConnecting Communities and CAV Support Infrastructure (Parking) competition presents the following briefing and networking opportunities:

-     Meridian Mobility 3: 8 June 2018, London and Webcast

-     Meridian Mobility 3: 12 June 2018, Birmingham


Article written by Tim Watt

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