JLR announces first UK road tests of driverless car technology

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Jaguar Land Rover is investing £5.5m in a project aimed at testing connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on UK roads.

Through the UK-CITE (UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) initiative, the company plans to create a 41-mile “living laboratory” on roads around Coventry and Solihull.

JLR In-car Gantry Reseach
Connected technologies will be trialled on a 41 mile long network of public roads

New roadside communications equipment will be installed along the route during the three-year project to enable the testing of a fleet of up to 100 connected and highly automated cars, including five Jaguar Land Rover research vehicles.

This fleet will test a range of different communication technologies that could share information at very high speeds between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure, including traffic lights and overhead gantries.

Connected technologies are seen as key enablers for future Intelligent Transport System that could be used to help monitor and manage traffic flow, and improve road safety.

JLR Emergency Vehicle Warning Research 3
Driverless technologies could help improve road safety

Technologies that will be trialled through the project include Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) systems that enable vehicles to autonomously follow each other in close formation and so-called “Over the horizon” warning systems that inform vehicles directly about hazards and road conditions further ahead.

Commenting on the initiative Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover’s research team and project partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions. Similar research corridors already exist in other parts of Europe so this test route is exactly the sort of innovation infrastructure the UK needs to compete globally.

“The connected and autonomous vehicle features we will be testing will improve road safety, enhance the driving experience, reduce the potential for traffic jams and improve traffic flow. These technologies will also help us meet the increasing customer demand for connected services whilst on the move.”

Business secretary Sajid Javid today announced the UK government’s support for the project with a £3.41m grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.