UK self-park test centre under way

By Graeme Roberts | 25 July 2019

A model of the planned self parking test facility

A model of the planned self parking test facility

The UK's first facility to test and support the development of automated parking solutions is under construction in the West Midlands.

Trusted Autonomous Parking (Park-IT) is being built at the famous UK vehicle testing site near Nuneaton now known as Horiba MIRA, in partnership with Coventry University.

The pair are developing a multi-storey car park, on-road parking bays and parking lot environments on the proving ground, providing real-world parking simulation to support the development of self-parking systems.

The parking areas are within the city circuit, a purpose-built cityscape test track environment, allowing verification of the transition from an urban driving environment into a dedicated parking facility.

The facility will be supported by a digital twin so users can replicate parking scenarios in simulation, enabling a wide range of CAV driving and parking scenarios to be tested in a virtual environment before being validated at the facility.

Park-IT is one of eight funded projects that are part of Testbed UK led by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Zenzic the self-driving UK hub organisation, which was created by government and industry to accelerate self-driving in the UK.

Self-driving parking will bring significant benefits to the public through the services it will enable, such as autonomous valet parking which Daimler and Bosch already have working in a demonstration environment in Germany.

In order to realise those benefits, challenges within the self-driving environment – tight locations, restricted visibility, lack of GPS (in covered locations), must be addressed. Park-IT will provide a claimed world-class location to solve those challenges, and test innovative services.

Chris Reeves, head of CAV Technologies at Horiba MIRA, said: "It is vital that the integrity of all technologies is fully tested and verified to ensure consumer confidence.

"Park-IT brings a unique CAV testing facility to the UK that will help to ensure the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles are safe and secure. Autonomous valet parking will be one of the first wide-scale adopted examples of highly automated driving and this facility will allow for the validation of this technology in a safe and repeatable way."