Self-driving cars success

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) will be a key partner in a twin-city consortium appointed by Innovate UK today to lead a £20M project that will integrate driverless cars into everyday life and position the UK as a global leader in driverless vehicles and autonomous systems technology.

The programme will see research teams test public reaction to autonomous vehicles around Milton Keynes and Coventry, carry out real-world testing on public roads and footpaths, and develop new legal and insurance protocols to make driverless mobility safe and viable.

UK Autodrive is a consortium of local authorities and leading UK technology and automotive businesses and academic institutions. Innovate UK’s ‘Introducing Driverless Cars to UK Roads’ competition aims to establish the UK as the global hub for the R&D and integration of driverless vehicles and associated technologies into society and to attract future investment.

Steve Yianni, chief executive of the Transport Systems Catapult said:

“The Transport Systems Catapult is the UK centre for innovation in Intelligent Mobility and has pioneered the introduction of driverless pods in Milton Keynes through our pilot project LUTZ Pathfinder.”

“UK Autodrive will build on the success of the LUTZ Pathfinder programme, using the design and performance information it generates, to create a city-scale demonstrator.”

“We are delighted to be one of the UK Autodrive partners and will ensure that the knowledge and information it creates is shared to maximise the impact it has for business, growth, and transport.”

The aim of the project is to establish the UK as a global hub for the development of autonomous vehicle technologies and to integrate driverless vehicles into existing urban environments by trialling them in two major UK cities. Not only will the programme help develop the new protocols and connected infrastructure required to deliver future autonomous mobility, it will allow the UK Autodrive team to test public reaction to both driverless cars and self-driving pods.

The funding provided by Innovate UK will be matched by the 12 consortium members to create a £19.2m three year project which will be led by design and engineering consultants Arup. UK Autodrive will deliver a programme of feasibility studies and practical demonstrations in Milton Keynes and Coventry, where the city councils are taking the lead in developing the urban infrastructure technologies required to support driverless mobility.

The feasibility studies will consider the significant implications and challenges of introducing autonomous vehicles from a technical, social and economic perspective.  The studies will provide insights for vehicle manufacturers, cities, commercial operators, legislators and insurers to develop the legal framework for the roll-out of autonomous mobility.

On-road testing will include the real-world evaluation of passenger cars with increasing levels of autonomy, as well as the development and evaluation of lightweight fully autonomous self-driving pods designed for pedestrianised spaces.

Tim Armitage, UK Autodrive Project Director, Arup, said: “The UK Autodrive consortium brings together world-class expertise that will help the UK position itself as a leader in the development and adoption of autonomous driving technologies.” 

“As well as developing and testing the in-car, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure technologies that will be required to drive cars autonomously on our roads in the future, the project will also place great emphasis on the role and perceptions of drivers, pedestrians and other road users.”

“The Low-Speed Autonomous Transport System (L-SATS) will provide the first commercial scale demonstration of a solution for last-mile urban mobility which will have global significance.”

“Our plan with the practical demonstration phases is to start testing with single vehicles on closed roads, and to build up to a point where all road users, as well as legislators, the police and insurance companies, are confident about how driverless pods and fully and partially autonomous cars can operate safely on UK roads.”

The partners in the ‘UK Autodrive’ consortium are Arup, Milton Keynes Council, Coventry Council, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford Motor Company, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, RDM Group, MIRA, Thales (UK), Oxbotica, AXA, international law firm Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, the Transport Systems Catapult, the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and the Open University.


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