Culham Science Centre has announced the completion of a new £5.8 million facility, built to support the development of connected and autonomous vehicles by 2035.

The CAV facility is named Pit Lane and has been developed at Culham Science Centre by RACE, the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) centre for Remote Applications in Challenging Environments.

The development of the facility has been supported by OxLEP and the Local Growth Fund in addition to the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

Garry Staunton lead technologist at RACE said, ‘We have been safely hosting trials of autonomous vehicles at Culham Science Centre for over two years. Completion of the Pit Lane development will allow us to scale-up our operations and we are looking forward to welcoming a wide range of exciting new tenants and watching as they benefit from the investment that has been made.’

‘The UK has a strong position within the connected and self-driving sector and Oxfordshire is home to a growing and dynamic cluster of CAV companies. Nurturing this is one of the goals of our Local Industrial Strategy,’ added Staunton.

Four purpose-built work spaces, each approximately 2,377 sq. ft. in size, intended to provide CAV companies with the opportunity to work on two vehicles in the work space with office accommodation above where technicians can analyse huge quantities of data generated from the cars.

A CAV track control centre from where vehicle movements will be monitored is part of the facility. This will act as the hub for a site-wide fibre optic network that will link with dedicated 4G phone masts and wireless units, something which will boost V2V connectivity and further enhance testing capabilities.

With 10km of varied and mixed private roads as well as more than 2,000 people on site, Culham Science Centre offers a unique environment for controlled testing of driverless vehicles before they venture out onto public roads.

Photo by Schwoaze from Pixabay.

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