UK Autodrive final report cover May 2019

UK Autodrive report highlights driverless progress and challenges

The groundbreaking UK Autodrive project has published its final report, reflecting on some impressive achievements and highlighting urgent challenges.

Back in December 2014, UK Autodrive was one of three successful consortia selected from Innovate UK’s Introducing Driverless Cars To UK Roads competition. On launch, in October 2015, it was the UK’s largest ever trial of connected and self-driving vehicles.

The rollcall of big names involved with the project included planning consultants Arup, Milton Keynes and Coventry City councils, vehicle manufacturers Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata, automotive technology specialist RDM, transport systems specialist Horiba-Mira, and Oxford and Cambridge universities.

The three main elements were: 1) The Cars programme, focused on the development and trialling of connected and autonomous passenger cars; 2) The Pods programme, focused on the development and trialling of a new form of last-mile electric-powered pod vehicle; and 3) The Cities programme, aimed at helping cities to understand how they could best facilitate and benefit from automated transport systems.

JLR, Tata and RDM all praised it for significantly advancing their autonomous capabilities, with Emergency Vehicle Warning and Collaborative Parking judged to have been particularly effective. The Electronic Emergency Brake Light feature was also considered to have strong potential.

Just as importantly, the report highlighted five major challenges:

  • The levels of integration with road infrastructure, including traffic signals
  • Issues related to time synchronisation between system components
  • Extra care to be taken during testing in areas where pedestrians cross
  • The need to correct for road surface imperfections compared to 2D maps
  • The current imprecision of GPS for lane-level localisation

Tim Armitage, project director at Arup, said: “The success of the project was primarily down to the vast and varied expertise of the UK Autodrive consortium partners, and to the collaborative manner in which we worked from day one.”

You can download the full report here

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Author: Neil Kennett

Neil is MD of Featurebank Ltd. He launched in 2019.