VeriCAV: Using simulation to put Connected and Autonomous Vehicles to the test

A new connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) project has been announced by the government today that will help to explore how simulated environments can support the development of self-driving technology.

The VeriCAV (Verification of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles) project will develop an integrated platform to allow Automated Driving Systems (ADS) to be tested in simulation.

As CAV technology becomes increasingly sophisticated (and the UK more prepared for driverless cars on public roads), the industry needs to explore ways to ensure autonomous vehicles operate safely. However, safety evaluation is laborious and complex, and real-world testing can be impractical and incomplete – simulation gets around these problems and opens the doors to evaluating multi-layered and uncommon situations.

The VeriCAV simulation will also mean significantly improving test efficiency when evaluating countless driving scenarios, and at the same time it can replicate the behaviour and actions of obstacles in a realistic and consistent manner.

Chris Reeves, Head of CAV Technologies, HORIBA MIRA Ltd., said, “There is a transformation taking place in the automotive sector. This transformation is being driven by the trend towards ever-increasing levels of connectivity and automation to the point where the industry is now talking in terms of the car being your biggest consumer electronic purchase.”

“This transformation is opening up huge commercial opportunities. It’s not, however, without major technical challenges in product development and the need to determine the efficacy of these systems using industry best practice test and validation processes. Simulation and modelling techniques and the creation of ‘digital twins’ will be critical in speeding up and reducing the cost of product development.”

Transport Systems Catapult CEO, Paul Campion, added, “We’re delighted to be a part of this ground-breaking project, which brings together two global car manufacturers, a world-leading engineering and test facility, the best of British SME innovation, plus renowned UK academic expertise, to revolutionise how CAVs are tested and implemented. This could be a game-changer; advanced simulation can help all sectors involved in introducing driverless cars to the roads understand the challenges and discover the solutions so that our future transport system is safe, efficient, environmentally- and user-friendly.”

Led by Horiba MIRA, VeriCAV consortium partners include: SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre, Jaguar Land Rover, Latent Logic, Propelmee, Aimsun Ltd., the University of Leeds, and the Transport Systems Catapult. The project will begin in November 2018.

The VeriCAV consortium was awarded the funding as part of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK competition to invest in industry-led, collaborative research and development projects in the area of CAV simulation. It is the first stage of CCAV’s approach to enhancing the UK’s testing ecosystem through simulation and modelling.

 

Meet the partners:

About HORIBA MIRA

HORIBA MIRA is a global provider of pioneering engineering, research and test services to the automotive, defence, aerospace and rail sectors. We work in close collaboration with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers around the world, providing comprehensive support ranging from individual product tests to turnkey multi-vehicle design, development and build programmes.

With over 70 years’ experience in developing some of the world’s most iconic vehicles, our engineers utilise the latest test facilities and simulation tools to make vehicles and journeys safer, cleaner, more efficient and rewarding. Our suite of 39 major test facilities, 100km of specialised proving ground and wealth of engineering experience, combined with our expanding international presence, means we are confident that we can achieve our vision – that by 2025 every journey in the world will be positively influenced by us. For more information visit https://www.horiba-mira.com/.

About SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre 

SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre is uniquely placed as a satellite to SAIC Motor, the largest automotive company in China and one of the Top 50 companies in the World.  Ever more sophisticated products are needed to drive our rapidly growing sales in the fast developing Chinese market; we aim to take advantage of our location in Europe, a natural centre for engineering innovation and excellence, to deliver innovative, high value design and engineering solutions to our parent company. For more information visit http://www.saicmotor.co.uk/

About Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer, built around two iconic British car brands: Land Rover, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles; and Jaguar, one of the world’s premier luxury sports saloon and sports car marques. It employs more than 40,000 people globally (June 2017: (40,554: UK 37,679, rest of world 2,875) and supports around 240,000 more through dealerships, suppliers and local businesses. Manufacturing is centred in the UK, with additional plants in China, Brazil, India and Slovakia. It is the largest investor in R&D in the UK manufacturing sector, investing £12 billion in the last five years. In the current year alone it will spend over £3 billion on new product creation and capital expenditure. In 2017 it sold more than 621,000 vehicles in 136 countries, with over 80% of vehicles produced in the UK being sold abroad. It is one of the biggest investors in research and development of any UK manufacturing company.  For more information visit https://www.jaguarlandrover.com/

About Latent Logic

Latent Logic is a spin-out of the award-winning machine learning department at Oxford University. The company uses state-of-the-art computer vision and deep learning techniques to develop smart-actor models for autonomous car simulation. In 2018, Latent Logic (formerly Morpheus Labs) was selected as one of Nvidia’s “top 4 global Autonomous Systems start-ups” due to its innovative AI solutions. For more information visit www.latentlogic.ai

About Propelmee

Propelmee is creating a new ‘state-of-the-art’ for autonomous vehicles. We are developing fully automated driving technology, which can safely contend with the most challenging on-road driving scenarios, across geographies, on all types of roads, and in adverse weather. Propelmee’s ‘SkyBlue’ automated driving system is powered by patent pending suite of technologies comprising; ‘VisionAI’ – a visual cognition engine, and ‘AutoMap’ – an ultra-lightweight, long-term persistent, scalable mapping technology, integrated with dynamic path planning, behaviour prediction, closed-loop control, and multi-sensor fusion. Propelmee is developing a fleet of autonomous vehicles, enabled by ‘SkyBlue’, to demonstrate fully automated real-world driving scenarios on highways, rural roads, and busy urban city centres. For more information visit https://propelmee.com

About Aimsun Ltd. 

Aimsun develops the integrated Aimsun Next mobility modelling software, which provides an accurate and cost-effective simulation environment for testing connected and autonomous vehicles. The simulated Aimsun Next environment is a way to accurately investigate the impacts of different CAV systems, including vehicle management and control strategies, as well as the impact of robustness issues such as information delays, data integrity, and black spots in connectivity and communications.

Now with offices in Barcelona, London, New York City, Paris, Portland, Singapore, and Sydney, Aimsun software has over 4,500 users around the world, including government agencies, consultancies and research institutions.  For more information visit www.aimsun.com

About University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 33,000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. We are a top ten university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and are in the top 100 for academic reputation in the QS World University Rankings 2018. Additionally, the University was awarded a Gold rating by the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017.

The Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) is the host of the University of Leeds Driving Simulator and a leader in humanising Automated Vehicle technology. The Institute’s primary purpose is to advance the understanding of transport activity, operations and use, and to develop skills and best practice among transport professionals and decision-makers. ITS is a leading international centre for transport research. It is particularly notable for the breadth and depth of research, the international quality of which has been verified by Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) stretching back over a period of 20 years. The research is sponsored by a variety of organisations, including the UK Department for Transport, the European Commission, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. ITS was also the first academic unit in Britain to achieve ISO 9001 accreditation for research management. ITS is a free-standing academic department of the University of Leeds and part of the Faculty of Environment.

Virtuocity is a centre for city simulation bringing together expertise from the University of Leeds’ major research facilities – including the University of Leeds Driving Simulator and Leeds Institute for Data Analytics. The University has extensive and internationally-recognised research experience across the disciplines of social sciences, engineering and medicine. Virtuocity combines these, so that any researcher can use them in their investigations. Corporate and public partners also integrate their software, simulations, data and models thereby maximising the research capability of Virtuocity. An interactive environment centred around accurate virtual models of cities for decision-makers, business partners and researchers is at the heart of Virtuocity to help explore scenarios and test new systems. Partners are provided with a competitive edge through access to a unique combination of facilities, world leading research and key academic expertise to accelerate the creation of innovative solutions. www.leeds.ac.uk

About Transport Systems Catapult

The Transport Systems Catapult is the UK’s technology and innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, harnessing emerging technologies to improve the movement of people and goods around the world. We are here to support business growth, increase the UK’s share of the global Intelligent Mobility market, and attract investment – creating jobs and generating long-term economic growth.

We will help sell UK capability on the global stage, while also promoting the UK as a superb test bed for the transportation industry. With a clear emphasis on collaboration, we are bringing together diverse organisations across different modes of transport, breaking down barriers and providing a unique platform for meeting the world’s most pressing transport challenges.

The Transport Systems Catapult is one of an elite network of not-for-profit technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

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