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Autonomous driving moves a stage closer in the UK

Results to shape new safety requirements and insurance products designed for autonomous driving

The autonomous trials took place in London's Royal Borough of Greenwich
The autonomous trials took place in London's Royal Borough of Greenwich

Move_UK consortium has completed the first phase of a three-year research programme designed to speed development of automated driving systems and make them intelligent and safe enough for UK roads.


The initial trial undertaken in Greenwich has enabled the Bosch-led consortium to develop a new validation method that will reduce the time taken to test automated driving systems and bring them to market.


“Government investment, through our Intelligent Mobility Fund, in the Move_UK programme is helping deliver this pioneering research into the ‘real world’ application of this technology,” said Greg Clark, business and energy secretary.


“It is a collaboration between government and industry that is building our expertise and reputation in self-driving technology and supports our clean growth, low-carbon agenda.”


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 from their fleet services department.


As part of the new validation method, data is selected and recorded smartly which helps 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.


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


“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,” added Arun Srinivasan, executive vice president and head of mobility solutions, Bosch UK.


“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.”


Other partners in the consortium include Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), Jaguar Land Rover, Direct Line, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Floow.


TRL has started to use the big data resource to develop a UK framework for regulatory and type approval safety requirements for automated driving technologies.


The research programme is also allowing Direct Line and the Floow to start developing more accurate insurance models associated with automated driving technology.


This has only been possible due to the unprecedented volume of ‘real world’ data available which will help towards providing insurance products and pricing that is more closely linked to risk, the companies said.

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