The UK Autodrive project has come to a grand conclusion with three days of complex demonstrations across Coventry and Milton Keynes – featuring new modes of travel, complex urban environments, and an International CAV Conference, which takes place on Thursday, October 11, 2018, from 09:30am-12:00pm.
As part of the trials, a Range Rover Sport has completed the first ever self-driving lap of one of the UK’s most challenging road layouts. The prototype self-driving SUV handled the complex Coventry ring road, successfully changing lanes, merging with traffic and exiting junctions at the speed limit of 40mph.
The Range Rover Sport chosen for its performance has been modified to include additional navigation sensors, radar and lidar. Coupled with the UK Autodrive research, the vehicle can now autonomously handle roundabouts, traffic lights, pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles on complicated roads. It can also park itself.
Mark Cund, Jaguar Land Rover autonomous vehicle research manager, said, “The Coventry Ring Road is known for its complicated slip roads and exits. It makes for very challenging conditions, especially when under pressure in the rush hour.
“Our self-driving car is not impacted by the same pressure, frustrations or fatigue that a driver may experience and so it’s capable of turning a potentially very stressful situation into a completely stress-free one.”
Highly skilled Jaguar Land Rover engineers have also developed connected features as part of UK Autodrive. The safety-enhancing and emission reducing technology use the internet to connect vehicles to each other and to infrastructure such as traffic lights.
Overall research under the initiative has investigated important aspects of automated driving, such as safety and cybersecurity; legal and insurance issues; public acceptance and customer interaction; and the potential business models for turning autonomous driving systems into a widespread reality.
Jesse Norman, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, said, “The increasing automation of our cars is transforming the way we drive, and the government is providing the regulation and investment in order to prepare for the future.
“Automation could bring significant benefits to people right across the country and presents enormous economic opportunities for the UK, with the global market for CAV technologies expected to be worth over £900m (US$1.17bn) by 2035.
Norman said, “We are on the cusp of an exciting and profound change in how people, goods and services move around the country which is set to be driven by extraordinary innovation. UK Autodrive is helping put the UK at the forefront of that change.”
The project has delivered a number of papers and studies, too, including public engagement/feasibility studies examining the implications and challenges of introducing autonomous vehicles from a technical, social and economic perspective; support surrounding the development of a legal framework for the wider roll-out of autonomous mobility; exploration of mass CAV deployment, identifying weaknesses in the operating system and infrastructure; and providing solutions.
“UK Autodrive has been a hugely successful project that was delivered on time and on budget. Taking place in Milton Keynes, Coventry, and on the Horiba MIRA test track, UK Autodrive carried out a series of trials of increasing complexity which have demonstrated the functionality and potential of connected and self-driving cars,” said Arup’s Tim Armitage, UK Autodrive project director.
“The program also delivered a fleet of lightweight, autonomous pods which have been designed to operate last-mile services in an urban environment. The pods have demonstrated how they could be used to provide a public transportation service to residents of Milton Keynes.
“The real advances that the UK Autodrive partners have developed and which we have demonstrated will be shaping the next-generation of vehicles, the roads, regulations and safeguards needed to accommodate them, and the people using them.”
Consortium partners on the project were Arup; Milton Keynes council; Coventry city council; Jaguar Land Rover; Ford Motor Company; Tata Motors European Technical Centre; RDM Group; Horiba MIRA; Oxbotica; AXA; Gowling WLG; Thales; Transport Systems Catapult; University of Oxford; University of Cambridge; and the Open University.
More on UK Autodrive in the June issue of ATTI.