£25m of funding is being made available for off-road driverless innovation in the UK.
The Institute of Mechanical Engineers reports that the Business Secretary Greg Clark is announcing funding for a Connected Autonomous Vehicles research and development competition to grow the commercial potential of off-road driverless technology.
The report says that it is hoped that this wave of funding will help to create technology with applications for industries such as construction, farming and mining.
The idea is based on the fact that off-roading creates its own challenges for self-driving vehicles. They have to determine what kind of surface they’re driving on in order to optimise traction.
“Surface identification is looking at what the road surface is before you get to it,” it quotes Chris Holmes, a senior research manager at Jaguar Land Rover, who are developing an off-road autonomous vehicle, in an interview with Wired last year. “That helps if you’re about to hit some ice or some water, or maybe you’re about to go onto some wet grass, it then allows the vehicle to set itself up for what it is about to hit rather than what you’re actually encountering.”