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DMU plays key role in Government's new transport research project

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is to play a key role in shaping the Government’s vision of a fully integrated transport system – complete with driverless cars.

DMU has been named as the Outreach Champion in a £600,000 project making the crucial connections between business, industry, academics and local authorities.

The idea is to harness skills and technologies from a range of industries to produce an integrated transport system which comes up with ways to move people and goods around the country in the best way possible.

Loughborough University is leading the project, which also involves Nottingham Trent and Coventry universities. It will support the Government’s Transport System Catapult (TSC) set up to test the latest theories on sustainable transport. The programme aims to help accelerate the commercialisation of great ideas from British universities.

Professor Eric Goodyer, Principal Lecturer and Reader in Instrumentation at DMU, said: “Over the next three years, we will assist in raising the profile of our transport industry, nationally and internationally, developing supply chains, building European partnerships, and seeking new export markets.”

The consortium’s project is the Intelligent Mobility Partnership Midlands Centre of Excellence (IMPART). It will look to bring the partnership’s expertise in transport (such as computational intelligence and road safety) to help make better use of existing rail, road and air travel for businesses and commuters.

The project has a specific emphasis on supporting small businesses by offering access to the latest research and funding as well as developing and maintaining networks across the Midlands.

DMU’s reputation in developing and maintaining industrial and research networks, world-class expertise in transport systems and close industry relationships were all significant factors in winning the prestigious bid.

Only 14 universities across the UK have been chosen to be part of a new university partnership programme working in intelligent mobility. A major theme of intelligent mobility is the driverless car and, while the UK trails the likes of America – Google expect to have perfected theirs by 2018 – the government is determined to catch up.

It sees the driverless car, and a fully integrated transport system, as the best way to reduce accidents, congestion, pollution and also improve fuel efficiency.

Pete Thomas, Professor of Road and Vehicle Safety at Loughborough and the academic lead of IMPART, said the transport system of the future will enable people and goods to be moved about safer, quicker, more efficiently and more sustainably than ever before.
About 20 PhD students from the four universities conducting research into IM will spend time at the TSC in Milton Keynes.

The partners will seek to work with a range of local authorities on intelligent mobility, including Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council, Nottingham City Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Coventry City Council.

The TSC and the universities are providing £600,000 towards IMPART, and industry almost £500,000 in kind.

The TSC aims to exploit opportunities in intelligent mobility estimated to be worth up to £900 billion by 2025 and establish the UK as a world leader in transport systems, creating new technologies that can be exported.

Posted on Wednesday 17th September 2014

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