A new UK project is promising to allow Autonomous Vehicles to perceive obstacles with “pin-point accuracy” around blind corners, “pushing autonomous vehicle sensing well beyond what CAVs can perceive using on-board sensors, today”.
Project CORAM (Connected On-Road Autonomous Mobility) will undertake a feasibility study as part of CCAV3 funding competition sponsored by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV). CORAM will research how ‘Look-Ahead’ and ‘Non-Line-of Sight’ (NLOS) perception can be delivered to any Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) from infrastructure deployed sensors. CORAM will leverage connectivity to deliver NLOS and Look-Ahead perception using low-latency over-the-air messaging to autonomous vehicles.
CORAM lead Propelmee, is an Autonomous Vehicle Technology company that is developing an Operating System to enable full autonomy for self-driving cars. CORAM brings together CAV expertise, state of the art CAV testing facilities and the CAV assets of two eminent partners; the Transport Systems Catapult and Cranfield University.
Research by the CORAM consortium will pave the way for infrastructure-based connectivity to enable safer on-road autonomy, culminating in a technology demonstration at Cranfield University’s state-of-the-art Multi-User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation (MUEAVI) research facility utilising Transport System Catapult’s autonomous pods.
Propelmee will develop the core capability of converting the infrastructure perception sensor inputs into meaningful scene understanding, as ‘Look Ahead’ and ‘NLOS’ perception -beyond the line of sight and range of AV’s on-board perception sensors.
The partners will develop and research methods for achieving these technology goals, and for efficient transmission of ‘NLOS’ perception Over-the-Air for utilisation by CAVs whilst assessing the latency and bandwidth constraints of chosen communication protocols. The research outcomes of CORAM will support the creation of new message structures and communication protocols for CAVs, new use case concepts for connected on-road autonomy and will pave the way for shared vehicle understanding that goes beyond current Vehicle to Vehicle and Vehicle to Location systems for coordinated autonomous driving.
Zain Khawaja, Founder & CEO of Propelmee, said, “Connectivity has a key role to play in autonomy, and infrastructure sensing has the potential to greatly aid and enable full autonomy, especially when on-vehicle sensing struggles to accurately perceive the world or 3D maps are broken. Infrastructure can assist autonomy in urban city centres where there is a large density of pedestrians, buses, taxis, cyclists and complex and unpredictable driving scenarios often arise. CORAM consortium will take the first steps in developing a proof of concept of such a system and will help establish the groundwork for the UK to become a world-leader in connected infrastructure for fully autonomous mobility”.
Transport Systems Catapult CEO, Paul Campion, added, “The competition to develop Connected and Autonomous Vehicles is accelerating and as a centre of excellence in transport research, we see this project as making a significant contribution to ensuring that UK is at the forefront of this revolution in mobility. As partner in CORAM, we will leverage our CAV expertise to explore the potential of infrastructure-based sensing to accelerate the introduction of these vehicles into everyday usage in the UK with the maximum possible benefits for passengers and the road network as a whole.”
Professor Dr. Antonios Tsourdous, Head of Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems Centre at the Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-physical Systems, Cranfield University said, “CORAM will be a significant collaborative trial at the University’s state-of-the-art MUEAVI research facility. MUEAVI is a purpose-built, instrumented roadway created as a ‘living laboratory’ for research into connected and autonomous vehicles. MUEAVI enables autonomous vehicles to be researched and tested in diverse real-world situations and environments. This capability is essential to develop and gain confidence in exciting technological developments of autonomous vehicles.”
The CORAM consortium was awarded the funding as part of a CCAV and Innovate UK competition CAV3, to invest in industry-led research and development projects on CAVs. The aim of the competition was to find projects that would deliver technical solutions for CAVs, and leveraging connectivity for autonomy, provide real-world benefits to users.