The IMEC (Intelligent Mobility Engineering Centre), one of Cranfield University’s new facilities, was topped out today in a ceremony to celebrate the highest point of the building being reached.

Due to open in the summer of 2017, IMEC will enhance Cranfield’s position as one of the UK’s leading centres for education, training and research for the rapidly growing intelligent mobility and transport systems sector. Intelligent Mobility focuses on using new technologies to better connect various modes of transport and people, making travel more effective.

Professor Graham Braithwaite, Cranfield’s Director of Transport Systems, attended the ceremony and said: “We recognise the need for additional facilities to explore essential aspects of the future of transport systems such as safety and simulation, and IMEC will enable us to share and develop our expertise in this area. The Intelligent Mobility market is expected to be worth around £900 billion over the next ten years, so we are confident that the new Centre will have a positive impact nationally as an educational establishment and as an important facility for businesses.

The facility will also provide a shared teaching space for Cranfield students, key business partners, and other local educational institutions that are focused on transport engineering systems and autonomous vehicle technologies. The Centre will house simulation laboratories, student breakout spaces, and deliver practical workshops. On the ground floor, a large foyer will be used for exhibitions and teaching.

The £10 million Centre is co-funded by SEMLEP (South-East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership), HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and Cranfield University.

Welcomed by Cranfield’s Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Peter Gregson, and head of Centre Dr James Brighton, guests at today’s ceremony included Lindsay Hondebrink, Head of Enterprise from SEMLEP, Dr Yolande Herbath, Programme Director for Information Exploitation from the Transport Systems Catapult, and Sue Clarke, Parish Councillor for Central Bedfordshire.

Steve Yianni, Chief Executive of Transport Systems Catapult, commented: “Intelligent Mobility is about taking a refreshed and creative approach to the challenges we usually face in the transport sector, such as congestion or pollution. The new Centre at Cranfield will explore, develop and share knowledge on how to use emerging technologies to enable the smarter, greener and more efficient movement of people and goods. Recent demonstrations of autonomous vehicles have highlighted the huge public interest in this exciting emerging technology.

Cranfield has ambitious plans for the development of the campus. The University’s investment in new facilities and infrastructure over a 25-year period has seen the development of a new £35m Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) which is due to open in early 2017. Funded by Cranfield, Rolls-Royce and Airbus, the Centre will focus on developing, testing and integrating new aerospace technologies for current and future aircraft and airspace concepts. The AIRC will foster collaboration between businesses and academia and provide capabilities comparable with other leading aerospace facilities across Europe and the world.

The MUEAVI (Multi-User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation) road is a £9 million research facility.  Also opening in 2017, it is a mile of ‘smart’ roadway that will be used in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles, including the associated systems needed to integrate technologies into our day-to-day lives. MUEAVI will be unique, as it will be integrated into the heart of the campus, providing a new arterial road and a pedestrian friendly boulevard, while also serving as a ‘living lab’ research environment.

Sir Peter Gregson, Dr Yolande Herbath,  Councillor Sue Clark, Lindsay Hondebrink, Prof Gram Braithwaite, Prof Phil John
Sir Peter Gregson, Dr Yolande Herbath, Councillor Sue Clark, Lindsay Hondebrink, Prof Graham Braithwaite, Prof Phil John

About Cranfield University

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