Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Smart Mobility Living Lab: driving the future in London

December 4, 2017

We’re immensely proud be a part of a ground-breaking new smart transport project that will span over 10 years, led by TRL, the global centre for innovation in transport and mobility, and funded by Innovate UK.

Called Smart Mobility Living Lab: London, the project is a world first and will see us build a real-world test environment for the deployment and development of connected, autonomous vehicles.

As well as TRL, we’ll be working with some of the leading lights from across the transport and technology sectors – including DG Cities, Costain, Cubic, Loughborough University, Transport for London and the London Legacy Development Corporation.

London is a landmark of size and diversity, and a city that comes with a raft of existing traffic, infrastructure and urbanisation challenges.

This project will allow us to explore these challenges, and show how the solutions can be applied to other similar cities around the world – not just purpose-built smart environments in new urban centres.

From the ground up

Our role will be to lead the building phase of the project.

We’ll be building two test sites – an alpha site in London’s Olympic Park, and a beta on the Greenwich peninsula – that will allow us to test the connected autonomous cars in real environments. This will include building the infrastructure and the technology needed to support the sites.

After this, TRL and DG Cities will be responsible for running the sites as open innovation environments for automotive innovators, transport providers, SMEs, government bodies, and research outfits to test their ideas and develop new solutions.

It’ll be the biggest innovation project that we’ve worked on to date in terms of funding.

The experience that we’ve gained over the past year and a half from running the CityVerve smart city demonstrator in Manchester – a very complex, sizeable undertaking – will be instrumental to the success of this project.

Travel and transport is one of the key themes of the CityVerve project.

We’ve learned over the past year or so not only how integral transport is to almost every aspect of people’s everyday lives, but also how important it is to provide new technological solutions that can be installed into existing, sometimes decades-old infrastructure.

The Smart Mobility Living Lab is another great opportunity to emphasise and demonstrate the way Cisco understands and deploys co-innovation: working with a broad mix of partners from across public, private, and academic spheres to build a brighter, more efficient future.

A new route

We believe that connected autonomous vehicles will be one of the most disruptive technologies of the future – not just in terms of disrupting the technology of car manufacturing, but how we think about mobility in the future.

It raises questions about the very point of owning a car; whether buses or trains will continue to exist if we can instead platoon individual autonomous cars together; the purpose and plenitude of car parks – the list goes on.

These are all things that have over the years become integral to the way we live – dictating, as they do, the way we move around our towns and cities.

We’re taking a new approach with the Smart Mobility Living Lab, by making it about not just the technology within the car but also the technological capabilities and connectivity of the infrastructure on which the cars travel.

It’s a sign that the technology is reaching the point of maturity at which it can move from simply being a research technology to one that can be applied in a real-world environment.

We’re moving from experiment to reality: using real cars, not just pods; real roads; and real situations. It’s a huge opportunity not just for us at Cisco, but for the UK as a whole to join the leaders of this technology in the world.

This is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK through our Country Digital Acceleration programme. Our digitisation strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the nation.

If you want to see how the project has progressed, check out the website:

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  1. The growing acceptance of semi-autonomous technologies, such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), automatic parking, and forward collision avoidance, is anticipated to pave the way for the adoption of driverless automobiles over the next seven years.