‘UK Autodrive’ consortium wins competition to develop driverless cars

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‘UK Autodrive’ consortium wins competition to develop driverless cars

A pioneering trial of self-driving vehicles is set to take place in Milton Keynes and Coventry following success by the ‘UK Autodrive’ consortium in the UK government’s ‘Introducing Driverless Cars’ competition.

The Arup-led consortium was confirmed as one of three successful consortia in an announcement made today by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne during his Autumn Financial Statement.

Comprising forward-thinking local authorities, world-class technology and automotive businesses and leading academic institutions, the UK Autodrive project aims to establish the UK as a global hub for the development of autonomous vehicle technologies and to integrate self-driving vehicles into existing urban environments by trialling them in two major UK cities (Milton Keynes and Coventry).

Not only will the programme help develop the new protocols and connected infrastructure required to deliver future autonomous mobility, it will also allow the UK Autodrive team to test public reaction to both self-driving cars and pavement-based pods.

The funding provided by Innovate UK will be matched by the 12 consortium members to create a £19.2m three-year project. UK Autodrive will deliver a programme of feasibility studies and practical demonstrations in Milton Keynes and Coventry, where the city councils are taking the lead in developing the urban infrastructure technologies required to support driverless mobility.

The feasibility studies will consider the significant implications and challenges of introducing autonomous vehicles from a technical, social and economic perspective. The studies will provide insights for vehicle manufacturers, cities, commercial operators, legislators and insurers to develop the legal framework for the roll-out of autonomous mobility./

On-road testing will include the real-world evaluation of passenger cars with increasing levels of autonomy, as well as the development and evaluation of lightweight fully autonomous self-driving pods designed for pedestrianised spaces.

“The UK Autodrive consortium brings together world-class expertise that will help the UK position itself as a leader in the development and adoption of autonomous driving technologies,” said UK Autodrive Project Director Tim Armitage following the Chancellor’s announcement. “As well as developing and testing the in-car, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure technologies that will be required to drive cars autonomously on our roads in the future, the project will also place great emphasis on the role and perceptions of drivers, pedestrians and other road users.”

Along with UK Autodrive, two other successful consortia emerged from the government competition, with self-driving vehicle trials also announced for Greenwich (the GATEway consortium) and Bristol (Venturer).

The partners in the ‘UK Autodrive’ consortium are Arup, Milton Keynes Council, Coventry Council, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford Motor Company, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, RDM Group, Thales, HORIBA-MIRA, Oxbotica, AXA, international law firm Gowling WLG, the Transport Systems Catapult, the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and the Open University.”