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London, UK, Published date 15 October, 2020

ServCity: a project making autonomous mobility a reality in the UK’s cities

Select category Corporate News Research & Development Transport

• Collaborating with five partners, Nissan is to develop a blueprint and business model

• ServCity aims at deploying cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technology in complex built-up environments.

12th October 2020

London, UK - ServCity, the UK’s newest autonomous mobility service research project, has launched this month to help cities solve how they can harness the latest autonomous vehicle technologies and successfully incorporate them into a complex urban environment. ServCity is jointly funded by government and industry, the government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility fund is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Over 30 months, five partners – Nissan, the Connected Places Catapult, TRL, Hitachi and the University of Nottingham – will work together to develop a blueprint that directly tackles the barriers to deploying autonomous vehicles in the UK’s cities.

ServCity leverages the experience and expertise acquired though the HumanDrive project. Completed in February this year, this project tackled autonomous driving on country-side and motorway lanes, overcoming challenges such as roundabout and high speed country lanes with no marking, white lines, or kerbs. Completed with a 100% electric Nissan LEAF, it was finalised with Grand Drive, the UK longest and most complex autonomous drive from Cranfield to Sunderland. Data and learning gathered during HumanDrive represents a tremendous help in the completion of the new venture.

Through a combination of test simulation, end-user experience research and real-world trials, ServCity will inform how cities can exploit the potential of future mobility solutions and accelerate their deployment. Concentrating on the three key areas of technology, people and scalability, ServCity aims to ensure the user experience is as intuitive, inclusive and “engaging” as possible.

Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “If society is to enjoy the benefits of self-driving vehicles, we need to ensure the technology can safely master a complex and lively modern city, with all its obstacles.

This project, backed by Government funding, will not only help make autonomous vehicles more user friendly, but also give users confidence that they can respond quickly and safely and to all types of challenges they face on the roads.”

Bob Bateman (Project Manager) from Nissan explains: “We are extremely proud to be a part of the ServCity project and are excited to trial our 100% electric Nissan LEAF as test vehicles. Our Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy strives to achieve a mobility future that is more electric, more autonomous and more connected and we look forward to working in collaboration with ServCity’s other partners to achieve this.”

Edward Mayo (Programme Manager) from the Connect Places Catapult said: “The Connected Places Catapult supports organisations in harnessing emerging technologies and developing new services. ServCity is a perfect example of how we can use this approach to deploy autonomous vehicles on a wide scale to achieve the aim of Intelligent Mobility and improve the movement of both people and goods.”

Lucien Linders (General Manager) from TRL adds: “As world leaders in creating the future of transport, TRL is committed to developing safe systems that are available to everyone. Through using the infrastructure and monitoring facilities at our Smart Mobility Living Lab in London, we are uniquely placed to analyse the performance and benefits of automated mobility services in a complex city environment. We are proud to be offering our expertise to this ground-breaking ServCity project.”

Nick Blake (Chief Innovation Strategist) from Hitachi explains: “The team at Hitachi’s European research and development is focused on tackling the complex technical challenges involved in autonomous driving in congested urban environments. Our role in the ServCity project will include developing the technology behind predicting – and safely responding to – other moving objects such as pedestrians, cyclists and cars, as well as delivering accurate and robust localisation solutions.”

Gary Burnett (Chair of Transport Human Factors) from the Human Factors Research Group at the University of Nottingham stated: “Our team brings significant expertise in conducting and analysing user studies to evaluate human-computer interactions. We are excited by our role as part of ServCity to generate theories, models and methods behind the user experience of the vehicle occupants. To this end, we will ensure that the design and development of the autonomous vehicle service is user-centred and truly meets consumer needs.”

Andrew Hart (Director) from SBD Automotive explains: “Robotaxis have the potential to fundamentally transform mobility for both consumers and the cities they operate in. The user experience lies at the heart of that transformation, as operators will need to carefully balance customer expectations with real-world technological constraints. SBD is proud to be a part of the ServCity project, bringing our decades of hands-on experience from working with car makers to help define and test different approaches to delivering a seamless Robotaxi experience.”

About ServCity

ServCity is taking an integrated approach to solving the numerous challenges around implementing autonomous vehicles in our cities.

Deploying these new mobility services cannot work if they are introduced in silos. There are too many dependencies and factors outside of service providers’ field of vision to work independently.

That’s why autonomous mobility services need to be looked at in a joined-up way.

Our aim is to create a blueprint – a set of insights and guidelines – for how autonomous mobility services can become an everyday experience in our cities, for everyone. Our research findings will help provide practical guidance for policymakers, budget holders, transport providers, technology providers – and anyone with a role to play in future mobility.

About Nissan in Europe

Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 16,000 staff across locally based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. In 2019, Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced about 465,000 vehicles including award-winning crossovers, commercial vehicles and the Nissan LEAF.

Pursuing a goal of zero emissions and zero fatalities on the road, Nissan is leading the field with its vision of Nissan Intelligent Mobility. Designed to guide Nissan’s product and technology pipeline, this 360 degree approach to the future of mobility will anchor critical company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society.

About TRL Limited

TRL is a global centre for innovation in transport and mobility. It provides world-leading research, technology and software solutions for surface transport modes and related markets engaged in intelligent, new mobility innovations.

Independent from government, industry and academia, TRL helps organisations create global transport systems that are safe, clean, affordable, liveable and efficient.

Established in 1933 within the British Government as the UK's Transport Research Laboratory, TRL was subsequently privatised in 1996. Today, TRL has more than 1,000 clients across 145 countries, driving positive societal and economic benefit worldwide.

Core areas of expertise include infrastructure asset management & asset technologies; intelligent transport systems & traffic operations; sustainability & healthy mobility; vehicle safety engineering & technology research; major incident investigations; human factors safety & behavioural science.

TRL is strategically investing, producing disruptive research and delivering innovation linked to:

• Connected & self-driving vehicles

• Ultra-low emission technologies

• Shared mobility services

• Intelligent asset information

• Big data, machine learning & artificial intelligence.

Headquartered in the UK, nearly 1/3rd of TRL’s business is with overseas organisations. Its international focus covers Europe, India, Africa & Middle East, plus wider Commonwealth countries, supported by strategic collaborations in North America and Asia Pacific.

More information can be found at

About Connected Places Catapult

Connected Places Catapult harnesses UK innovation to accelerate the adoption of new ideas and technologies to help create connected places for a more productive and greener future.

The Connected Places Catapult operates at the intersection between public and private sectors and between local government and transport authorities.

The Connected Places Catapult focus is on connecting businesses to cutting-edge research and technologies in order to spark new possibilities and accelerate the creation of innovative products and services which will deliver improvements to the way we live, work, play and travel — and grow the UK economy in the process.

More information can be found at

For press & media enquiries please contact the Connected Places Catapult communications team through Natasha Moore (

About Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Hitachi Europe Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501, "Hitachi") is headquartered in Maidenhead, UK. The company is focused on its Social Innovation Business - delivering innovations that answer society’s challenges. Hitachi Europe and its subsidiary companies offers a broad range of information & telecommunication systems; rail systems, power and industrial systems; industrial components & equipment; automotive systems, digital media & consumer products and others with operations and research & development Laboratories across EMEA. For more information, visit

About the University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings.

We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

About SBD Automotive

SBD Automotive is a global consultancy firm specialising in automotive technologies. For over 20 years, our independent research, insight, and consultancy has been helping vehicle manufacturers and their partners to create smarter, more secure, better connected, and increasingly autonomous cars. Having built a reputation for robust data and expert advice, as well as an ability to attract and retain the industry’s most talented specialists, SBD Automotive recently received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – a much-coveted award for outstanding achievement by UK companies. If you would like to learn more, please visit

For press & media enquiries please contact the UK Marketing Team.

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