WMCA push forward CAV agenda with proposed ‘data marketplace’

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has moved ahead in the plan to create a commercially viable platform for the exchange of data, to further the development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV).

A procurement notice has been launched as part of the ConVEx (Connected Vehicle Data Exchange) project, of which the primary aim is to create an open access marketplace for the safe, secure, simple and sustainable exchange of data, boosting innovation in the development and deployment of CAVs.

According to the notice, a main aim is to find a software-as-a-service arrangement and commercialise the platform. In turn supporting the development of CAVs, often described as self-driving vehicles, by encouraging interested authorities and industry to share data and accelerate research and development.

The authority is hoping the ConVEx facility will support cities or regions to achieve safer, cleaner more affordable and more effective mobility.

The ConVEx project was granted £8.4m by Innovate UK in November 2018, which will, in part, be used to fund a digital platform from the exchange of data between technology developers and fleet operators.

WMCA has estimated the value of the deal will be around £1.5m, adding that a selling point for the exchange would be in curating and cleaning the data, making it available through a single point.

The project is inclusive of start-ups and SMEs, hoping to promote innovation and ultimately attract inward investment from overseas organisations and boost jobs and skills in the UK as a result.

The authority is leading the way for the development of CAVs in the UK, with the transport authority, Transport for West Midlands, in a consortium with the University of Warwick and Coventry University, under the Midlands Future Mobility Programme.

Mike Walters, director of policy, strategy and innovation for Transport for West Midlands said:

“We believe that hard to reach data is stalling market growth and innovation. So the aim of Convex is to pool mobility data from a diverse range of sources and open it up for use by the transport sector and technology developers.

“By making this data commercially available the ConVex platform will lift a major barrier to the development of new mobility solutions and enable companies and organisations to get to work on designing the next generation of transport technology and systems, including the West Midlands CAV Testbed and Future Mobility Zone programmes.”


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