Coventry, West Midlands - Jaguar Land Rover is investing in a 66km “living laboratory” project on UK roads to develop new Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies.
The new CAV test corridor, which includes 66km of roads around Coventry and Solihull in the UK’s West Midlands will be used to evaluate new systems in real-world driving conditions.
The £5.5 million (R128 millon) UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment project will create the first test route capable of testing both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems on public roads in the UK.
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.
The project also has the financial support of the British government.
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.
Jaguar Land Rover director of research and technology Dr Wolfgang Epple said: “This real-life laboratory will allow our 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 we need 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 us help meet the increasing customer demand for connected services while on the move.”
MANAGING TRAFFIC FLOW
Connected technologies are key enablers for future intelligent transport systems. These would help traffic authorities monitor and manage traffic flow by capturing data from all connected vehicles and then provide the driver or autonomous car with guidance to optimise the journey.
To improve traffic flow, connected cars could co-operate and work together to make lane-changing and exiting from junctions more efficient and safer.
Technologies such as co-operative adaptive cruise control would enable vehicles to follow each other autonomously in close formation, known as platooning, making driving safer and ensuring road space is used more efficiently.
In the future, warning messages that are today flashed on to an overhead gantry above a road could be sent direct to the dashboard – and repeated if necessary.
This would have the potential to eventually replace the overhead gantry, which each cost around £1 million (R23.27 million) to install.
The Jaguar Land Rover research team will be real-world testing a range of “Over the Horizon” warning systems. As well as warning drivers, these would inform future autonomous vehicles, helping them react and respond to hazards and changing traffic conditions automatically.
“A well-informed driver is a safer driver, while an autonomous vehicle will need to receive information about the driving environment ahead,” said Epple.