Fully autonomous vehicles are said to be one step closer to arriving on the UK’s streets, thanks to the latest round of research from the consortium MOVE_UK.
The research team, led by Bosch, has completed the first phase in its three-year programme, designed to accelerate the development of automated driving systems and make them intelligent and safe enough for the country’s roads.
Taking place in the Royal Borough of Greenwich – one of the UK’s leading “smart cities” and a global reference point for mobility innovation – the project has enabled the MOVE_UK consortium to develop a new validation method that will reduce the time taken to test automated driving systems and bring them to market.
The project’s data is gathered from sensors installed on a fleet of Land Rover vehicles that have so far completed more than 30,000 miles of driving on public roads in Greenwich by council workers from their fleet services department.
As part of the new validation method, data is selected and recorded intelligently which helps to reduce the total volume of data collected and speed up validation of the automated driving functions in the real world. The data is then automatically transferred to a central cloud, allowing researchers to analyse it remotely, using newly developed tools.
As a result, the consortium partners are able to analyse how automated driving functions respond in the real world, helping to ensure that future autonomous vehicles drive in a natural way, retaining the positive driving characteristics of a good driver.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said, “Low carbon and self-driving vehicles are the future and the UK is determined to be one of the leaders in this technological revolution. Through our Industrial Strategy, the Government is laying the foundations to ensure the UK seizes the opportunities presented by the development of our next generation of vehicles.
“Government investment, through our Intelligent Mobility Fund, in the MOVE_UK programme is helping deliver this pioneering research into the ‘real world’ application of this technology. It is a collaboration between Government and industry that is building our expertise and reputation in self-driving technology and support our clean growth, low-carbon agenda.”
The next two phases of the project will see additional sensors added to the test vehicles, so by the end of the project the data gathered will be from full 360-degree surround sensing.
Arun Srinivasan, Executive Vice President and Head of Mobility Solutions, Bosch UK said, “This ground-breaking project is a major step for the UK in becoming a world leader in automated and connected vehicle technology. The data collected is particularly valuable, as it is being generated through real world driving, rather than from the test track. As the project’s lead partner, we are pleased that the new validation method being trialled takes us one step closer to fully autonomous driving and to our vision of accident-free and stress-free driving for the future.”
The MOVE_UK research programme is also allowing Direct Line and The Floow to start developing more accurate insurance models associated with automated driving technology. This has only been possible due to what they say is the unprecedented volume of real world data available which will help towards providing insurance products and pricing that is more closely linked to risk.
At the same time, TRL has started to use the “Big Data” resource to develop a UK framework for regulatory and type approval safety requirements for automated driving technologies.
Richard Cuerden, Academy Director at TRL commented, “The completion of the first phase of the project brings us another step closer to seeing autonomous vehicles on UK roads. Through MOVE_UK we are able to compare the behaviour of the automated driving systems with the behaviour of human drivers, which, in turn, will help to improve the safety and validation of automation systems.”
The picture shows Smart Highways editor Paul Hutton at the wheel of one of the Land Rovers.