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JLR pours money into connected and autonomous driving

JAGUAR Land Rover is participating in two new projects in the UK worth a combined £11 million (RM66.1 million) to advance connected and autonomous vehicle technology.

The £5.5-million UK-CITE (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.

The three year £5.5-million MOVE-UK project, which is led by Bosch, is intended to help future autonomous vehicles drive naturally—more like human drivers rather than like robots. The project will also help develop future insurance policies for automated vehicles

Under the UK-CITE programme a 41-mile Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) test corridor will be used to evaluate new systems in real-world driving conditions, the company said, describing it as a “living laboratory”.

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 three-year project will test four main connectivity technologies: 4G-based LTE (Long Term Evolution), DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications), LTE-V (a more advanced version of LTE) and local WiFi hotspots.

This fleet will test a range of different communication technologies1 that could share information at very high speeds between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure, including traffic lights and overhead gantries.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover’s 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 the UK needs 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 help us meet the increasing customer demand for connected services whilst on the move.”

1133067_JLR_Emergency Vehicle Research 2

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 like Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) would enable vehicles to autonomously follow each other 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 onto 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 £1m 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.

Dr Epple added: “A well-informed driver is a safer driver, while an autonomous vehicle will need to receive information about the driving environment ahead. The benefits of smarter vehicles communicating with each other and their surroundings include a car sending a warning that it is braking heavily or stopping in a queue of traffic or around a bend. This will enable an autonomous car to take direct action and respond. Drivers would receive a visual and audible warning that another car is causing a hazard out of sight or over the horizon.

“The approach of an emergency vehicle can often be stressful for drivers. If we can inform the driver, or the autonomous car, much earlier that an emergency vehicle is approaching, we can ensure that the best decisions are made to move the vehicle out of the way safely and conveniently, to let the emergency vehicle pass by.”

Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Emergency Vehicle Warning’ system would identify that a connected ambulance, fire engine or police car is approaching through car-to-car communication. The driver would then receive a warning, long before flashing lights and sirens are audible or visible.

Under the MOVE-UK programme a fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be driven daily by employees of the London Borough of Greenwich to establish how a range of different drivers react to real-world driving situations, including heavy traffic, busy junctions, road works and bad weather.

Data from sensors in these cars will reveal the natural driving behaviors and decision-making that drivers make while driving, including complex and stressful scenarios. These include giving way at roundabouts and intersections, how drivers ease forward at junctions to enter a flow of traffic, or how they react to an emergency vehicle coming up behind their car whilst in a traffic jam.

Insurance experts will provide their expertise on the liability of certain scenarios using the real-world driving data supplied by the fleet of test cars.

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