Using machine learning to develop natural, human-like vehicle control

This major connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) R&D project seeks to take autonomous technology to the next level in terms of end user experience. The most complex autonomously controlled journey yet attempted in the UK, the HumanDrive project will develop a prototype autonomous vehicle that will demonstrate a 200+ mile, end-to-end journey in a variety of settings (including country roads, A-roads, high speed roundabouts and motorways) through live traffic and different environmental conditions. This Grand Drive is scheduled for late 2019.

One of the key innovative aspects of the project will be the development of an advanced vehicle control system, designed to allow the vehicle to emulate a ‘natural’ human driving style using machine learning and developing an Artificial Intelligence to enhance the user comfort and experience.

Paul Gadd, Head of Automotive at Innovate UK, said:

This is a significant next step in the testing and development of driverless car technologies and highlights how the UK is at the forefront of automotive innovation. The HumanDrive project is a great example of the dynamic collaboration of businesses and organisations supported by the Intelligent Mobility fund.

The project is being led by Nissan’s European Technical Centre (as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance), supported by Hitachi, Cranfield University, Aimsun Ltd, Horiba-Mira, University of Leeds, Atkins, Highways England, SBD and the Transport System Catapult. Funding comes from industry and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

A set of HumanDrive FAQs are available.

Read the HumanDrive press release.

Our role in the HumanDrive project

Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) is project manager for HumanDrive, and will also be responsible for safety case elements as well as supporting the live trial elements of the project. This combination of a complex ‘live-traffic’ scenario and AI-controlled vehicle is ground-breaking, as such presents considerable technical and safety challenges. These challenges will be met by a series of trials conducted on specialised test tracks, in simulation and open public roads to develop the AI-controlled vehicle.

TSC experts will assess and identify the myriad of hazards involved, building on the learnings from the hugely successful LUTZ Pathfinder Project. TSC Human Factors scientists are also assisting in the design of trials to gather data and determine the human driving behaviour upon which much of the AV natural human driving style will be based.

The knowledge acquired will be used to advise on future CAV projects and technologies, in line with TSC priorities to support UK business, increase collaboration between industry and academia, and ultimately increase economic activity in the Intelligent Mobility (IM) sector.

To find out more visit the dedicated HumanDrive website at


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