UK Autodrive completes first trials
The UK’s first collaborative trials of connected and autonomous vehicle technology were successfully completed on Friday, as UK Autodrive partners Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) jointly demonstrated a number of future vehicle technologies at HORIBA MIRA’s Proving Ground in Nuneaton.
Friday’s demonstration came at the end of a fortnight trials, in which the three vehicle manufacturers were able to successfully demonstrate the programme’s first two connected car features.
The first demonstration showcased cars that can warn their drivers when another connected car up ahead has braked severely, lowering the risk of rear-end collisions when the driver’s view is obscured, for example, by fog or other vehicles.
The second demonstration showed how connected cars can be sent information from traffic lights, allowing them to reduce the likelihood of meeting red lights – potentially improving future traffic flow and lowering emissions in urban areas.
“There has already been a lot of public focus on self-driving vehicles, but connected car technology may be just as revolutionary,” said Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director.
“The benefits of having cars that can communicate with each other and their surroundings could be very significant – from increased road safety to improved traffic flow, more efficient parking and better information for drivers.”
Jaguar Land Rover also used Friday’s event to demonstrate a self-driving Range Rover Sport that was able to overtake slower moving vehicles automatically – and also reject overtake requests if it detects another vehicle in the occupant’s “blind spot”.
The UK Autodrive demonstration was also welcomed the UK’s Roads Innovation Minister, John Hayes, who said: “This technology has the potential to revolutionise travel by making journeys safer and cutting congestion for motorists. I’m proud that the UK is a world leader when it comes to developing connected and automated vehicles, and we are further establishing ourselves as the place to test and invest in this emerging technology.”
Further UK Autodrive trials and demonstrations are scheduled to take place at HORIBA MIRA during the spring of next year, before moving out onto closed-off areas of Milton Keynes and Coventry in late 2017. The project will culminate in a series of open road trials and demonstrations to be held in both cities in 2018.