The VENTURER consortium is collaborating with Westfield Sportscars to deliver the next phase of its research and development programme, with the British sports car manufacturer suppling the Ultra Pod self-driving prototype, to be piloted as part of the project’s work in advancing autonomous mobility.
The partnership is aiming to capitalise on the Pod’s design and, what the team behind it call,, “technological advances”. They say this will allow for further analysis to be conducted using 3D imaging and localisation sensors, developed by Fusion Processing, for navigation and collision avoidance.
They add that, with the application of Fusion’s intelligent sensors, that the vehicle should operate without the need for a Guideway, therefore enabling it to be trialled in a public space as required by VENTURER.
Jim Hutchinson, Founder and CEO of Fusion Processing, said, “We are delighted to be working with Westfield Sportscars on this project. The Ultra Pod, with Fusion’s technology and Westfield’s engineering expertise will make for a winning combination – proving a great vehicle for the trials and a solid platform for a commercially successful product.”
The Ultra Pod, as operated at Heathrow, will be integrated into the public acceptance trials which is designed to assess people’s response to Autonomous Vehicle technology.
Julian Turner, CEO at Westfield Sportscars, commented, “The UK is in an excellent position to become a world leader in this field. It will lead to the generation of new opportunities and highly skilled jobs across the country keeping the UK at the forefront of this technology. The VENTURER project will provide public confidence that proper safeguards are in place for citizens and road users alike. The trials will go a long way to understand the needs of the range of users of this exciting means of mobility. We are very much looking forward to working with the consortium and feel privileged that they have chosen to work with the team at Westfield.”
Work should commence in July with public trials of the Ultra Pod scheduled for summer next year.