Construction has begun on England’s first dedicated autonomous vehicle parking facility. Its purpose is to test and develop automated parking technologies in a controlled environment. Named Park-IT, the facility comes from a partnership between global engineering firm, HORIBA MIRA and Coventry University. It will be located in the town of Nuneaton in northern Warwickshire, England.
The facility will feature a multi-story car park, parking bays and a variety of environments to help test real-world situations. By having a facility dedicated to autonomous parking, specific challenges like tight locations, restricted visibility, and lack of GPS (in covered locations) can be addressed.
“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 the creation of Park-IT will allow for the validation of this technology in a safe and repeatable way,” said Chris Reeves, Head of CAV Technologies at HORIBA MIRA.
Testing Autonomous Parking Tech in Real-World and Virtual Environments
Parking areas will be co-located in the HORIBA MIRA’s City Circuit which is a ‘cityscape’ test track environment. This will help test the technology’s ability to seamlessly go from an urban driving environment to a dedicated parking facility.
Park-It will also be supported by a ‘digital twin’ which will allow a wide variety of autonomous driving and parking scenarios to be simulated in a virtual environment before they are tested at the facility.
Park-IT a Part of Testbed UK
Park-IT is one of eight funded projects that create Testbed UK led by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Zenzic the self-driving UK hub organization, which was created to accelerate the self-driving revolution in the UK. No word yet on when the facility will be complete.
“As the Government continues to press ahead with its vision for an autonomous and connected transport sector, it is vital that the integrity of all technologies is fully tested and verified to ensure consumer confidence,” said Reeves.