Construction begins on UK’s first automated parking test facility


The UK’s first facility to test and support the development of automated parking solutions is under construction in the Midlands. Named ‘Trusted Autonomous Parking’ (Park-IT), the facility is being delivered by Nuneaton-based global engineering firm, HORIBA MIRA.

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 systems. Challenges within the self-driving environment, such as tight locations, restricted visibility, lack of GPS (in covered locations), must be addressed during systems development, and Park-IT will provide a location to solve those challenges, and test innovative services, in a safe and configurable environment.

The parking areas will be co-located in the HORIBA MIRA City Circuit, a purpose-built ‘cityscape’ test track environment, which allows 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 adoption of self-driving technology in the UK.

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.”

The Park-IT project follows recent success for the Midlands-based companies, which 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.

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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