Not many of our readers will know it, but the once tiny village of Wellesbourne, just outside Stratford-On-Avon, with its WW2 former airbase and landing strip, was where Jaguar launched the all-new Mk1 to the world’s press, was the home village of Jaguar’s famous Director of Engineering, Bill Heynes (his home is with the XK120) and also the home village of the late-Roger and and his lovely wife Penny Woodley.  Roger was a former Jaguar Student Apprentice and they had one of the world’s finest Jaguar collections.  Penny still lives there.

Now, Wellesbourne is set to become Europe’s capital for the development of driverless electric cars with the construction of a pioneering multi-million pound research centre.

The ‘Smart City Mobility Centre’ planned at Warwick University’s Wellesbourne Campus will be a massive boost to the district and ensure South Warwickshire is at the cutting edge of a technology, long tipped to revolutionise the car industry.

The one-of-a-kind centre was announced by the University of Warwick and Jaguar Land Rover last week.

The centre at Wellesbourne will be concerned with developing the vehicle prototypes and the technology involved, with actual testing to take place at the University’s main campus.

As the centre develops, it is expected to play a significant role in transforming the future of UK transport with the aim of making congestion, emissions and road traffic accidents a thing of the past.

Engineers from Jaguar Land Rover and the Warwick Manufacturing Group (a department at the University of Warwick) will work together at the site, drawing on expertise in battery technology from the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, which will also be located in Coventry and Warwickshire.

WMG Chairman Professor Lord Bhattacharyya said: “This is the first time in any country that such a comprehensive system is being designed and tested. This will help integrate plans for transport systems for the future that have the potential to bring significant economic benefits to transform and improve the lives of a great many people who could benefit from even safer, less congested, and more environmentally sustainable transport.”

Professor Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, added: “Jaguar Land Rover welcomes the UK’s first Smart City Mobility centre in the West Midlands.

“The centre, based at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus, will create state-of-the-art electric vehicle platforms and integrated driverless capability to support the smart cities of the future.