Transport Mobility: Workshop report

By Kevin Ghirardello
PETRAS Research Associate 

On Monday 5th March PETRAS held a workshop at the Alan Turing Institute to analyse national Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) demonstrators. The purpose of the workshop was to assess the potential involvement of such demonstrators in different Transport & Mobility projects.

Lead by prof. Carsten Maple, Transportation and Mobility constellation lead, and Alisdair Ritchie, PETRAS Impact Champion, the event saw the involvement of key User Partners, representing BT and Network Rail, and a number of PETRAS academics and researchers from Imperial College, Southampton, Surrey, UCL and Warwick.

Having initially agreed that the United Kingdom does not offer a vast enough selection of CAV demonstrators to promote competition among them, as currently is happening in the United States, the resulting discussion focused on achieving a resilient and safe national transport system through the cooperation of different current and planned CAV projects and demonstrators.

This national partnership could potentially lead to the creation of a sustainable and comprehensive CAV testing ecosystem that would be able to trial various technologies in progressively more realistic environments, from computer simulations to real-world highways.

As such, with the help of the present PETRAS user partners, a preliminary list of key testing facilities and CAV projects was produced, with the underlying presumption that it needed to be further expanded and that a better understanding of the characteristics of each element was needed.

Furthermore, after a quick presentation of the PETRAS projects related to the security of autonomous cars, it was noted that most university projects provide validation of their findings through highly controlled environments, seldomly utilizing the available national testbeds.

It was therefore agreed that a future direction for the consortium would be to research the possible protocols and partnerships that would be functional in allowing current projects to demonstrate their results in testbeds or real world settings, thus ensuring both stronger industrial partnerships and more impactful research.

Additional topics that were briefly explored was the future prospect of expanding PETRAS research to include watercraft, aircraft or off-highway CAV technology, while examining how a truly multimodal form of transportation might be coordinated.

Anyone wishing to provide any sort of contribution to the Transport and Mobility stream can contact Alisdair Ritchie via email at