UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment project
Jaguar Land Rover is to test self-driving and car-to-car communication technology on a new, real road, “living laboratory”, the manufacturer confirmed. This 41 mile route – which will be around Coventry and Solihull – will have “roadside communication equipment” to interact with vehicles and operate for about 3 years.
This UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment project will establish how reliably self-driving vehicles operate in many probable, real life, scenarios. Jaguar Land Rover – along with other manufactures – is likely to consider how they negotiate different types of road, weather, vehicles, and unexpected hazards.
Tests on 5 styles of road
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, explained: “This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover’s research team and project partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on 5 different styles of roads and junctions”.
He added: “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.”
Benefits of car-to-car communication
Car-to-car/infrastructure communication relates to self-driving and traditional, human-controlled, vehicles. Its champions suggest it might improve traffic flow, cut congestion, minimise collisions and keep motorists better informed. Warnings that can only now be conveyed via gantries could be sent to car dashboards, for example.
Dr Wolfgang Epple continued: “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 (in contrast) would receive a visual and audible warning that another car is causing a hazard out of sight or over the horizon”.
Furthermore: “The approach of an emergency vehicle can often be stressful for drivers”, Dr Epple suggested. “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”.
In terms of traffic flow, car-to-car connected models could: “Co-operate and work together to make lane changing and exiting from junctions more efficient and safer”, Jaguar Land Rover emphasised.
“Technologies like cooperative adaptive cruise control would enable vehicles to autonomously follow each other in close formation (thus) making driving safer and ensuring road space is used more efficiently”.