The University of Nottingham and China take on intelligent mobility together

20 Dec 2017 11:40:55.457

The University of Nottingham has helped to take the first steps towards connecting the UK and China through technology, transport and data.

The first Sino-UK Intelligence Mobility (IM) Forum has been held in Beijing hosted by the Sino-UK Geospatial Engineering Centre (SUGEC), Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the University of Nottingham, the Chinese Academy of Survey and Mapping and Tongji University.

The Forum, put together with funding from UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Chinese partners, brought together key British and Chinese figures in the mobility and transport sector, including automotive equipment manufacturers, academic institutions, mapping agencies and government departments. 

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Together, these key experts, along with British and Chinese partners including UK and China governmental, industrial and academic organisations, formed the Sino-UK Academy of Intelligence Mobility (SUAIM).

The event has inspired collaboration to solve some of the biggest challenges in intelligence mobility. It identified barriers to efficient mobility on a sector-by-sector basis, and outlined a plan for coordinated work. 

The parties also identified several research priority areas around which SUAIM will focus its efforts in the near future. 

A wide range of policy makers were consulted to ensure these areas were in line with UK and Chinese government and industry priorities.

Several working groups were formed to support these priority areas and these are parts of a formally signed Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Nottingham and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology in April 2014.

Doctor Xiaolin Meng, UK Director of SUGEC, and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham, said: “The Sino-UK Intelligence Mobility Forum forms part of the University of Nottingham’s wider engagement in research and development in China. It brings together intelligent mobility practitioners to enhance the implementation of intelligent mobility in an exploratory, academic-industrial endeavour.

“The development of new technologies requires the joint effort of academia, government and enterprise. 

“Together we are committed to building a framework for cooperation, sharing our knowledge and expertise, exchanging ideas and opening up a space for developing cutting-edge technology. By uniting the efforts and resources of the UK and China, we hope to bring about mutual, sustainable social and economic development.

“We have spent three years working on this initiative and it reached to fruit due to the involvement of China Changan group and the significance of IM in current research. SUGEC had worked hard to ring fence the funding to this work and we have committed to invest significant funding through the Public-Private Partnership scheme.”

The priorities are outlined below:

Priority area 1: Connected and autonomous vehicles

In 2017 the UK government granted £109 million to support autonomous driving projects. The goal is to transition to low carbon, automatic driving. 

The Forum reported recent research developments on connected and autonomous vehicles and current barriers. It also identified four key steps which must be addressed to move forward. These include improving regulations, resolving spatial-temporal information issues, mapping uncertainties and adequate industrial innovation. 

Priority area 2: Intelligent monitoring of large-scale bridge structure

The University of Nottingham and China Railway Major Bridge Reconnaissance & Design Institute Co., Ltd (BRDI) are already working on joint projects in this area with other industrial consortium members such as UbiPOS UK Ltd, Leica Geosystems and GVL. They aim to research and develop low-cost, high-performance sensor systems that are augmented with the most innovative data strategy for measuring bridge health conditions, demonstrated on large-scale bridges in the UK such as the Forth Road Bridge and China.

The partnership has also completed the GeoSHM Feasibility Study and is working on the GeoSHM Demonstration Project, both funded by the European Space Agency. A further MoU was signed in 2015 cementing this relationship. 

Now, with funding from Innovate UK and Jiangsu Government in China these partners are set to launch the Cooperative Study on Health Intelligence Cloud Monitoring Platforms for large-scale bridge infrastructure in Jiangsu Province, China. This will hopefully lead to new, joint developments in bridge construction and management.

Priority area 3: Intelligent decision making on the Internet

At the Sino-UK Intelligence Mobility Forum, British and Chinese experts agreed to establish the Sino-UK Academy of Intelligence Mobility with a standardized framework for innovation in smart mobile technologies.  They also hope to focus on joint applied research in geospatial information and wireless communication, to become the world’s leading incubator for ‘smart mobility’.

During the Forum the parties also explored a system of joint mentoring on smart mobility. Each year, several graduate students from China and Britain will be selected and instructed by Chinese and British instructors. The hope is that strengthening training opportunities will help us to apply innovative technologies across the world.

The participants in the conference have agreed to sign an MoU committing to exploring and developing intelligent mobility and expanding the depth and breadth of cooperation between China and the UK. For these purposes, they intend to jointly establish the Sino-UK Academy of Intelligence Mobility as a new platform to carry out and support international research, promote application of technology and effective organization in innovation.


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Notes to editors: 

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 University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 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.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


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More information is available from Liz Cass, Head of News in the Media Relations Team on +44 (0)115 748 4734,


Liz Cass - Head of Media Relations

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 748 4734 Location: University Park

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