THE testing of driverless cars on West Midlands roads looks set to move a step closer after planning applications were submitted for infrastructure to support the technology.

Back in 2018 it was announced that the West Midlands had won a national competition to become the UK’s first testbed for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs).

More popularly known as ‘driverless cars’, the testbed will provide the infrastructure for the testing of the technology across Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull.

And now it looks as though introduction of the technology to the region’s move has moved one step closer.

Planning applications for two CAV masts have been put forward by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), who are responsible for running the project.

The masts would be located on land to the south west of the A38, Salford Circus, and on land immediately adjacent to the Dartmouth Circus on the A38 Aston Expressway. 

Each mast would stand at around 8 metres tall and will be equipped with CCTV cameras.

And, writing in their application, TfWM said that the construction of infrastructure was ‘vital’ to the future success of any CAVs in the West Midlands.

“Real world road environments are required to test the success and adoption of CAVs which depends on how well these vehicles integrate into road environments alongside existing transport services and infrastructure,” papers from the application state.

“Testing in a live road environment is vital to understand user acceptance and how these systems operate amongst the complexity and unpredictability that is inherent in real world environments.

“Connected vehicles have the potential to increase convenience and comfort for drivers and passengers, improve personalisation and delivery of services, and contribute towards achieving social objectives such as enhancing road safety, reducing fuel consumption and emissions, facilitating parking and improving traffic management and efficiency.”