The Midlands Connected Autonomous Vehicles (MCAV) cluster hosted its second major event on Thursday 8th March, with the Cluster Seminar & Dinner 2018 addressing key transport, congestion and climate challenges faced by cities, and what driverless vehicles mean for the economy.
Hosted at Innovation Birmingham’s iCentrum building, with a full house for the seminar, and 130 guests for the dinner including the likes of Microsoft, TESLA, Westfield Sportscars, TATA, Jaguar Land Rover, RDM, PWC, AECOM, Climate KIC, Transport for West Midlands and more, MCAV has made “quite an impression” on building the Tech CAV Super Highway between Birmingham and Cambridgeshire.
As part of the cluster gathering, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough delivered keynote addresses on the significance of driverless vehicles and their impact on the economy.
On the approach to the Commonwealth Games 2022, and responding to the challenge of providing connectivity for the increased number of passengers expected across West Midland services, such as the Midland Metro, Andy Street highlighted goals for the next 10 years, including the integration of hybrid vehicles, declaring the West Midlands as a hub for the development of autonomous vehicles:
“There are tests in Redditch, tests in the south of Germany and California. But what we’ve got to do is to win the race, as it matters to our economy. I am confident that we will win that race, and the West Midlands is definitely leading in the test phase.”
Mayor James Palmer expressed the need for the development of infrastructure in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:
“You’re seeing somebody who really cares about the society he’s from, who really understands the importance of building a truly world class public transport system and is prepared to work alongside you.
“Cambridge has always been an innovator; top of the tree in life science and technology. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be top of the tree in building infrastructure.”
Monique Seth, Lead Partner for MCAV added:
“The turnout has been fantastic, it’s great to see people engaging with driverless cars, motorbikes and Heathrow Pods on display, and we are very excited to be taking MCAV from regional to national and international contexts..”
Hosts of the evening were Abhi Naha, Chief Commercial Officer of Cambridge Wireless, and Beverley Nielsen, Executive Director and Associate Professor of IDEA Institute, Birmingham City University. Abhi Naha expressed the importance of showcasing the rise of SME’s and documented:
“There’s an energy and excitement tonight… I’ve met some really nice people which really helps in building trust and collaborating together”.
Beverley exclaimed that she was so pleased to have hosted the MCAV Dinner. She addressed the ‘great speeches and great challenges ahead’ for keynote speakers, the Mayor of West Midlands Andy Street and Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, James Palmer.
On the approach to the Commonwealth Games 2022, the challenge is to provide connectivity for expected increased numbers of passengers for West Midland services such as the Midland Metro by improving the tram system structure by installing autonomous trams.
The MCAV Cluster is now in discussions with similar corridors from Birmingham to London and Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, with further interest shown from European cities including Paris, Budapest and Prague.
MCAV will continue with several Special Interest Group events throughout the year and its third instalment in September 2018.
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