The birthplace of Britain’s automotive industry today hosted another four-wheeled first with a trial of connected and autonomous vehicle technology on its streets.
UK Autodrive has taken its vehicles from test track to the streets of Coventry to trial a number of technologies that will help define vehicles that communicate with each other and their surroundings to improve safety and efficiency.
Project partners Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) have begun tests on a number of connected car features, with Jaguar Land Rover and TMETC separately trialling autonomous vehicle research technologies.
The connected car trials are exploring seven different concepts, including connected traffic lights, emergency vehicle warnings, and emergency braking alerts.
The Jaguar Land Rover and TMETC autonomous vehicle research technology trials are being used to develop self-driving vehicle technology in a real-world setting, but with test operators supervising the cars at all times.
Further trials are scheduled to take place in Coventry and Milton Keynes early next year followed by a final series of open road demonstration events in both cities during the second half of 2018.
“The fundamental purpose of UK Autodrive is to get connected and autonomous vehicle technology out onto UK roads, so the start of trialling on the streets of Coventry is clearly a major landmark both for the project and for the UK as a whole,” said Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director. “Our previous private test track trials showed that the technology works but it is only on real roads that we will start to see the scale of the benefits that it can bring to the general public.”
“Autonomous and connected cars will be a reality in the near future and I am confident they will help to boost safety, reduce congestion and improve air quality.” Coventry City councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration. “Along with battery technology they will also help to create thousands of new jobs in the automotive sector and its supply chain.”
As well as the on-road testing of connected and autonomous cars in Milton Keynes and Coventry, UK Autodrive is also trialling a fleet of up to 40 self-driving pavement-based ‘pod’ vehicles in Milton Keynes, with both types of vehicle due to take part in the project’s final technology demonstrations next year.
Coventry’s connected car features:
Emergency Vehicle Warning (EVW) – Sends a signal directly from the emergency vehicle (e.g. ambulance, fire engine, police vehicle) to nearby connected cars. Driver is informed that the emergency vehicle is approaching and advised to make way for it
Intersection Collision Warning (ICW) – Warns the driver when it is unsafe to enter an intersection, due to a high probability of collision with other vehicles
In-Vehicle Signage (IVS) – Sends information about road conditions, congestion or other incidents directly to the in-car display, rather than having to rely on expensive gantry systems
Electronic Emergency Brake Light (EEBL) – Alerts the driver when a vehicle in front suddenly brakes, providing advanced warning, especially when the driver is unable to see the lights of the braking vehicle due to weather conditions, road layout or other vehicles in between
Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) – Sends traffic light information to the connected car which is able to calculate the optimal speed for approaching the lights, potentially minimising the number of red light stops, improving traffic flow and reducing emission levels from idling vehicles
Intersection Priority Management (IPM) – Assigns priority when two or more connected vehicles come to an intersection without priority signs or traffic lights
Collaborative Parking – Provides real-time information about free parking spaces either in the vicinity or close to the driver’s final destination.