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UK’s largest autonomous car trial moves onto public roads

ABR Staff Writer Published 20 November 2017

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) and Ford Motor have partnered for the UK's largest connected and autonomous vehicle project in Coventry.

The trials are being undertaken as part of the UK Autodrive project. JLR and its owner Tata Motors will also separately trial their autonomous vehicle research technologies in the city.

The trials are expected to begin early next year. Final series of open road demonstration events could take place in the second half of next year.

Trials of connected cars can help in exploring the benefits of letting cars communicate with each other and their surroundings with connected traffic lights, emergency vehicle warnings and emergency braking alert technologies on-board.

JLR and TMETC are developing their own autonomous driving technology based on real world conditions, but highly trained test operators are expected to supervise the cars at all the times.

Arup’s UK Autodrive project director Tim Armitage said: “The fundamental purpose of UK Autodrive is to get connected and autonomous vehicle technology out onto UK roads, so the start of trialling on the streets of Coventry is clearly a major landmark both for the project and for the UK as a whole.

“Our previous private test track trials showed that the technology works but it is only on real roads that we will start to see the scale of the benefits that it can bring to the general public.”

UK Autodrive is also trialling a fleet of up to 40 self-driving pavement based ‘pod’ vehicles in Milton Keynes and even these vehicles will also take part in the project’s final demonstrations next year.

Some of the technologies that are being trialed include Emergency Vehicle Warning (EVW) which can send signals directly from emergency vehicles such as ambulance, fire engine, police vehicles to nearby connected cars.

Intersection Collision Warning (ICW) technology will warn drivers when it is unsafe to enter an intersection, where there is high probability of collision with other vehicles.

In-Vehicle Signage (IVS) technology can send information about road conditions, congestion or other incidents directly to the in-car display.

Emergency Brake Light (EBL) technology can alert a driver when the vehicle in front applies sudden brakes and warns the driver when he or she is unable to see brake lights due to bad weather, road conditions or other vehicles in between.

Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) technology sends traffic light information to the vehicle,w hen then calculates the optimal speed to approach the lights, while reducing the number of stops at red lights.


Image: JLR, Tata Motors and Ford start trial of self driving cars in the UK, as part of UK Autodrive project. Photo: Courtesy of Tata Sons Ltd.