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Autonomous vehicle technology is transforming mobility in the East Midlands

11 April 2019

Andrew Wyllie CBE recently saw how advances in digital technology and smart infrastructure is improving lives across the region.

Autonomous vehicle technology is transforming mobility in the East Midlands
The President on a tour of the Lincoln Eastern Bypass
The President on a tour of the Lincoln Eastern Bypass

ICE President Andrew Wyllie has concluded a tour of the East Midlands during which he saw first-hand how the region is leading the way in using digital technology and smart infrastructure to improve lives.

The visit included a debate about Lincoln’s vision for using smart technology to improve mobility and connectivity. The debate, attended by industry leaders and academia, focused on how the use of smart technology can improve and change the way people navigate the city.

Autonomous and electric vehicles that have already been introduced in cities around the world are also set to transform travel in Lincoln. However, consistency of broadband cellular networks, road conditions and capacity of the electrical grid are the sort of challenges that the East Midlands will need to consider ahead of this.

The debate led to the conclusion that given the fact that production and sale of diesel and petrol cars will be banned in the UK in 2040/50, civil engineers will be required to plan how to provide the infrastructure and energy storage that their replacements will inevitably require Local authorities will also need to look ahead at their planning policies, ensuring they reflect the changing nature of transport infrastructure, for example to accommodate autonomous and electric vehicles.

Continuing the conversation in Nottingham the following morning, ICE members heard from a range of speakers on the testing of autonomous vehicles (AV’s) and design of infrastructure to support these fleets in the East Midlands. The President heard that Nottingham aims to be the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2028 and is in the process of rolling out a city-wide fleet of electric buses.

The President also visited the site of the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, a 7.5km road designed to improve Lincoln’s infrastructure, encourage economic growth and development and reduce carbon emissions in the city centre; and the East Midlands Gateway Project, a 700-acre development and 6 million square feet of logistics accommodation.

Summarising his visit to the East Midlands, ICE President Andrew Wyllie CBE, said:

“My visit to the East Midlands over the last two days has shown the wide-range of innovative and exciting developments taking place across the region.

“The fourth industrial revolution is providing exciting opportunities to meet infrastructure needs such as the autonomous and electric vehicle technology being developed in Nottingham. I’ve also been encouraged to meet so many young engineers during my visit and learn more about how they are deploying emerging technologies to projects in the region.”

  • Alex Sargeson, public affairs officer