UK autonomous driving project marks research milestone

Fully autonomous vehicles are one step closer to arriving on the UK’s streets, the MOVE_UK consortium said last week.

The consortium, led by Bosch, has completed the first phase in its three-year research programme, designed to accelerate the development of automated driving systems and make them intelligent and safe enough for the UK’s roads.

Based in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, one of the UK’s leading ‘smart cities’, the project has enabled the consortium to develop a new validation method that will reduce the time taken to test automated driving systems and bring them to market.

The project’s data is gathered from sensors installed on a fleet of Land Rover vehicles that have so far completed more than 30,000 miles of driving on public roads in Greenwich by council workers.

As part of the new validation method, data is selected and recorded intelligently – helping to reduce the total volume of data collected and speed up validation of the automated driving functions in the real world. The data is then automatically transferred to a central cloud, allowing researchers to analyse it remotely, using newly developed tools. As a result, the consortium partners are able to analyse how automated driving functions respond in the real world, helping to ensure that future autonomous vehicles drive in a natural way, retaining the positive driving characteristics of a good driver.

“Through MOVE_UK we are able to compare the behaviour of the automated driving systems with the behaviour of human drivers, which, in turn, will help to improve the safety and validation of automation systems,” explained Richard Cuerden, Academy director at the Transport Research Laboratory.

In the next two phases of the project, additional sensors will be added to the test vehicles, and by the end of the project the data gathered will be from full 360-degree surround sensing.

Arun Srinivasan, Executive Vice President and Head of Mobility Solutions at Bosch UK, said: “This ground-breaking project is a major step for the UK in becoming a world leader in automated and connected vehicle technology. The data collected is particularly valuable, as it is being generated through ‘real world’ driving, rather than from the test track. As the project’s lead partner, we are pleased that the new validation method being trialled takes us one step closer to fully autonomous driving and to our vision of accident-free and stress-free driving for the future.”

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