Autonomous vehicle testing facility opens at Culham Science Centre

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The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has completed the construction of a new £5.8m (US$7m) connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) testing facility at Culham Science Centre, Oxfordshire.

Located within its Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) facility, the ‘Pit Lane’ provides CAV developers with four 2,377ft2 workspaces, each with enough room to work on two vehicles with accompanying offices for analyzing data.

Garry Staunton, lead technologist, RACE, said, “We have been safely hosting trials of autonomous vehicles at Culham Science Centre for over two years. Completion of the Pit Lane development will allow us to scale-up our operations and we are looking forward to welcoming a wide range of exciting new tenants and watching as they benefit from the investment that has been made.”

The Pit Lane also benefits from a CAV track control center for monitoring vehicle movements. The center will act as the hub for a site-wide fiber-optic network that will link with dedicated 4G phone masts and wireless units, something that will boost V2V connectivity and further enhance testing capabilities.

Caroline Livingstone, head of property, Culham Science Centre/UKAEA, said, “The completion of Pit Lane signifies an exciting time at Culham Science Centre as we continue to build on the site’s strong heritage by providing world-leading facilities to enable the development of CAV and other robotic technologies. We are committed to ensuring Culham Science Centre remains a major employment center in Oxfordshire in addition to positioning the UK as a pioneer of advanced technology.”

With 10km (6.2 miles) of varied and mixed private roads, as well as more than 2,000 people on-site, Culham Science Centre offers a unique environment for controlled testing of driverless vehicles before they travel on public roads.

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Rachel's career in journalism has seen her write for various titles at UKi Media & Events within automotive, tire and marine. Currently editor of ATTI, her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of transportation.

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