Example of the MUEAVI road
Example of how the MUEAVI road will look

A new £9 million open research facility to support the development of autonomous transport vehicles and related systems is to be built at Cranfield.

The capital investment project will be a mile of ‘shared surface’ fully functioning roadway and pedestrian access through the centre of the campus. The University, supported by funding from the governments Local Growth Deal (LGD) initiative and delivered through SEMLEP (South East Midland Local Enterprise Partnership), will create the MUEAVI (Multi-User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation) facility.

The MUEAVI facility will accelerate the development of Cranfield’s ‘innovation habitat’ around its Technology Park, establishing it as the ‘go to’, national and global location for the research and innovation of autonomous transport systems in a controlled research environment.

Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University said: “I am delighted that SEMLEP has secured a further package of investment through the Local Growth Deal. The construction of an open innovation test facility at Cranfield will link closely with the Transport Systems Catapult and reinforce Milton Keynes’ position as the UKs leading city for transport innovation which includes the introduction of driverless pods to its public transport infrastructure. This investment is planned to create 950 jobs by 2020/21 and develop the skills of over 500 professional learners.”

MUEAVI is the third project that Cranfield has announced in the last 8 months, the Integrated Transport Systems Engineering Centre announced in December 2014, together with the Aerospace Integration Research Centre building announced in July 2014, brings the total funding to £54 million including £30 million of direct inward investment. The developments form part of a 25 year plan of investment to develop the Cranfield campus and its facilities.

The LGD funding will support a total of 10 projects across the area, including the expansion of MK Gallery, funds to aid the regeneration of Bedford town centre, the Vulcan Ironworks creative hub in Northampton and investment into Millbrook Technology Park.

Notes for editors

The size of intelligent mobility market is estimated at £900 billion by 2025 (Transport Systems Catapult).

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Transport Systems at Cranfield

Cranfield has over 50 years’ experience in transport, including the aviation, automotive, motorsport, military and marine sectors.

We are the only university in Europe to own and run an airport and to have airline status.

Our education and award-winning research covers all modes of vehicles and transport across technology, engineering and management, including sustainable transport and intelligent mobility.

In an increasingly interconnected world, we specialise in understanding the whole environment in which transport operates: the vehicles, infrastructure, businesses and logistics, as well as the human aspects of operating, managing and using transport.

Our world-class facilities include high-performance wind tunnels, an off-road vehicle dynamics facility, a crash impact test centre (one of just three FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) approved test centres in the world) and our Accident Investigation Laboratory, which is dedicated to our work in aviation, marine and rail safety and the only accident investigation laboratory of its type outside the United States. We were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our world-leading work in aviation safety through research and training in air accident investigation in 2011.

Completed in 2017, our latest facility, the Multi-User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation, is a £19 million ‘smart’ roadway test environment for the development of intelligent and autonomous vehicles, making it a UK first. It includes the associated systems needed to integrate emerging technologies into our day-to-day lives.

A new £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre will also be built at Cranfield to spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology, and a new state-of-the-art digital control tower, which replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower via a live feed using HD cameras and sensors, is being installed at Cranfield Airport.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.