The aim of the Meridian competitions is to continue to create the world’s most effective CAV testing ‘ecosystem’.
Your proposal must work with existing automotive test facilities, proving grounds and public road test sites across the Midlands and South East. It must improve existing capabilities and create new ones. We expect all projects to complement and integrate with the existing Meridian test facilities funded in 2017.
Meridian Mobility, CCAV and Innovate UK wish to establish an ‘ecosystem’ of projects to work together and with existing projects, which will set the UK’s facilities apart from others.
If your project uses public roads it must work with road owners and operators such as local authorities and Highways England as part of the design and delivery phases.
Your project must be globally significant and allow for:
- testing of autonomous vehicles in appropriate, realistic and increasingly challenging environments
- connectivity capabilities and methodologies that allow for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) testing
- testing of equipment that may interact with CAVs, for example, roadside infrastructure
Example customers and test scenarios could include:
- CAV manufacturers developing and validating their devices and vehicles
- telecoms companies validating new communications hardware
- mobility-as-a-service companies testing new business models
- SMEs testing underpinning AV technology
Your project must provide core infrastructure that can support modular units to test different equipment. It must be ‘future proofed’ as far as possible.
Your proposal must include test scenarios supported by a business model. Explain how the test facility will replicate as many scenarios as possible (ideally every possible scenario).
We will prefer facilities that support ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) compatibility with features such as non-manual charging. These should require no more than 5% of the total grant. Additional private funding can be used for ULEV facilities but should not form part of the grant request. This funding is for the CAV testing capability.
Preference will be given to proposals that use existing test facilities. This will minimise costs and give confidence in the proposed business model. You must provide evidence of board-level support from the facilities.
Meridian Mobility, Innovate UK and CCAV will strategically review the proposals. You must work with Meridian Mobility as part of joint governance of the UK CAV Testbed ecosystem during the build phase and the lifetime of the facility.
Test facility location
All test facilities must be in the defined area. Research has identified this as a UK area of excellence for CCAV innovation. It contains some of the UK’s leading automotive test facilities, including many projects supported by CCAV.
The competition aims to encourage and support a cluster of test facilities within the defined area.
This defined area is a rectangle that covers part of the West Midlands through to the South East. Its 4 corners are:
- the north-west of Leicester
- south of Guildford
- north-west of Worcester
Facilities may be anywhere within this area, including:
- Royal Leamington Spa
- Milton Keynes
If your test facility site falls just outside this area, or you have any other concerns, please email email@example.com or call 0300 321 4357 to discuss your options at least 10 days before the competition deadline.
Project business plans and personnel
Your project must submit a collaboration agreement and demonstrate good value for money. Projects must sign up to the Meridian Mobility Charter detailed in the guidance for applicants.
Your project must agree to work with Meridian Mobility to deliver a joined up group of UK testing facilities. Each funded facility will be expected to work as part of the UK CAV test ecosystem in partnership with Meridian Mobility.
We prefer facilities that support vital CAV technologies with cross-sector applicability, for example agriculture, public transport or drones. Your application must demonstrate how the facility is ‘customer friendly’ for all, including international customers. Identify facilities to support testing, such as secure garages and general logistics.
Projects are judged on their business model and must have a realistic plan for creating and committing to a long-term operational facility. Your business model must include marketing, operation and maintenance for at least 10 years beyond the end of the initial investment period. The completed facilities must operate commercially, with users paying a market rate. They must be open to several users on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis, including SMEs.
Your proposal must include a schedule that details milestone costs and what public investment you are seeking.
Data management and IT
Each facility must deploy protective security (cyber, physical and personal). It must use consistent and secure data management, communication tools and processes.
Public environments and controlled facilities funded through this competition should make generic data collected during testing, discoverable and available (but not necessarily free) to third party researchers and developers.
Meridian 2 funding supports a data exchange to provide comprehensive data collection, storage and management. Each funded facility could work with the data exchange and contribute towards a national CAV ecosystem.
Proposals should detail which data and technology standards they have chosen and why. Justification could include matches to national or international standards, or other industry facilities and this should be evidenced. You must also show how you will obtain any appropriate licences or approvals for frequencies.
If 5G is part of your proposal, you must work with the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme managed by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.