An autonomous electric vehicle has successfully completed a 230-mile self-navigated journey on UK roads.
The ‘Grand Drive’ from Cranfield in Bedfordshire to Sunderland was the culmination of 30 months’ work by the HumanDrive consortium led by Nissan engineers in the UK, working in partnership with consortium members Hitachi, the University of Leeds, the Connected Places Catapult, testing facility HORIBA MIRA, SBD Automotive, Cranfield University, Atkins, Aimsun and Highways England.
It included a variety of driving scenarios ranging from country lanes with no road markings or kerbs, to junctions, roundabouts and motorways.
The Nissan LEAF’s autonomous technology activated along the route to change lanes, merge and stop and start when necessary, the project partners said.
Another part of the HumanDrive project explored human-like driving using machine learning to enhance the user experience and passenger comfort of connected and autonomous vehicles.
Pilot vehicles tested on private tracks incorporated artificial intelligence systems developed by Hitachi which enable real-time machine learning. By building a dataset of previously encountered traffic scenarios and solutions, the car can use this ‘learned experience’ to handle similar scenarios in future and plot a safe route around an obstacle.
HumanDrive also looked at advancing cyber security features in self-driving vehicles, developing testing and safety methodologies for UK tests of the technology, and investigating the implications of autonomous vehicles on the wider transport system.
“HumanDrive has enabled HORIBA MIRA to develop our ability to replicate within the safe and controlled environment of our proving ground the complex scenarios seen on public roads, and to develop a process to interrogate an autonomous vehicle’s functionality thoroughly and efficiently,” said Richard Hillman, principal engineer for connected and autonomous vehicles at HORIBA MIRA.
“The learning from the project is helping to inform national and international discussions around the safety and security of connected and autonomous vehicles and their future regulations.”
HumanDrive was funded by UK government through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK, together with consortium partners. The joint funding package for the project totalled £13.5m.
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