UK Autodrive is the largest of three separate consortia that are currently trialling automated vehicle technology as part of a government-backed competition to support the introduction of self-driving vehicles into the UK.
The project will run for three years (until October 2018) with several major milestones along the way, including the start of the vehicle trials – the first of which took place at the HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in October 2016. In the last year of the programme, autonomous and connected cars and pods will become a regular sight in Milton Keynes and Coventry.
The TSC’s main role is to disseminate UK Autodrive’s findings to key stakeholders including industry, academia, the media and the wider public.
The project aims to:
UK Autodrive’s connected car trials will examine the potential benefits (in terms of safety, traffic flow and the environment) of having cars that can “talk to each other”.
Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors European Technical Centre will all be providing vehicles for these collaborative trials, which are due to take place initially on the HORIBA-MIRA test track in Nuneaton before moving on to closed city streets in Coventry and Milton Keynes and then on to open roads.
Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors European Technical Centre will also be using the UK Autodrive programme to trial autonomous (self-driving) cars.
As with the connected car trials, the autonomous trials will begin on the HORIBA-MIRA test track before moving through progressively complex urban scenarios. Trained operators will remain at the wheel of each vehicle for the duration of the trials, ready to take control if required.
As well as trialling ‘regular’ road-based cars, UK Autodrive will also trial a fleet of up to 40 self-driving ‘pods’ that can operate on pavements and other pedestrianised areas. Designed and built by Coventry-based firm RDM Group, the electric-powered vehicles will be used to test the feasibility of using low-speed autonomous transport systems to help move people within towns and cities.
During the early stages of the trial, trained operators will be sat in each pod. Later on, it is planned that invited members of the public will be able to call up and use the pods in a small-scale public trial of the technology.
To find out more and keep up to date with the project visit www.ukautodrive.com