Driverless technology trial receives financial boost

The MOVE_UK autonomous vehicle project led by TRL has received £5.5 million in funding to test driverless technology in real world conditions.

As announced by the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is part of a consortium of companies that will help position the UK as a world leader in automated and self-driving cars. Led by Bosch, the MOVE_UK project benefits from a £5.5 million grant awarded by Innovate UK and will see driverless technology trialled in real world conditions on roads in Greenwich, London.

Alongside TRL, UK project partners include Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, Direct Line Group, The Floow and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Together, the partners will see MOVE_UK accelerate the entry of automated, driverless car technologies to the UK market. The project will increase the rate of development and testing of these technologies at a lower cost to vehicle manufacturers.

Automated technology in cars will help to prevent accidents, reduce congestion and emissions in cities, offering a more pleasant experience for motorists. However, automated driving is highly complex and requires a large amount of data, which needs extensive validation to ensure that systems respond to a wide range of real world driving situations.

Testing and validation

During the three-year MOVE_UK project, driverless systems will be tested in the real world, providing large amounts of data that will be used to develop and improve the technology. This data will enable the development of new and faster ways of improving and demonstrating the safety of automated driving systems.

The information can provide smart cities with new ways to improve services for residents and look after the environment. It will also help the UK automotive industry understand how data from cars can be processed to benefit drivers, providing a real insight into how driverless technologies will change automotive businesses in the future.

TRL will house and process the data captured, providing essential insight for future tests and informing any regulatory changes that will need to be made.

Rob Wallis, CEO of TRL, said: “TRL is building a strong, reputable portfolio of UK based projects in vehicle automation, and this is another great example of a ground-breaking project in this area. By creating a unique evidence base for automated driving systems, we will not only help to develop and speed up validation of these systems in the UK, but also guide future thinking around the development of virtual and physical testing approaches for years to come.”

Automotive industry expertise

Bosch, together with Jaguar Land Rover, will provide vehicles, technology and state-of-the-art design expertise to the project.

Arun Srinivasan, Head of UK Automotive Division with Bosch Original Equipment, commented: “We are excited to be the lead-partner of such a ground-breaking project. Bosch strives for excellence in all that it does and in leading the MOVE_UK consortium, Bosch will help to establish the UK as world leader in automated technology. The use of Bosch technology will help to speed up the launch of automated driving technologies, making the vision of injury and accident free driving a reality for everyone.”

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “To successfully introduce autonomous cars, we actually need to focus more on the driver than ever before. Understanding how drivers react to a range of very dynamic and random situations in the real world is essential if we want drivers to embrace autonomous cars in the future.”

Bridging the insurance gap

Direct Line Group’s contribution to the project will help to bridge the gap between the automotive and insurance industries by providing crucial dialogue and reassessing the risk landscape for automated cars.

Paul Geddes, CEO at Direct Line Group, said: “Direct Line Group is delighted to be part of this unique consortium. We recognise the increasingly important role played by automated and driverless systems in improving road safety. We also understand that DLG and the wider UK Insurance industry have a key role in enabling the deployment and adoption of these technologies on UK roads.”

The Floow’s telematics will allow the consortium to compare the behaviour of the vehicle to that of a human driver in the same real world environment.

Sam Chapman, Chief Innovation Officer, at the Floow, said: “The Floow is an independent UK SME who supports insurers, serving their actuaries with advanced mobility understanding. It has the largest independent science team in the telematics industry; we push the data frontier, delivering proven predictive analytics and digital end-user services that transform insurance operations.”

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is the host local authority providing a smart city trial environment for the project. The borough is home to the UK’s Smart Mobility Living Lab – an open, real world, test environment for connected and automated vehicles.

Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader of Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “The Royal Borough of Greenwich is delighted to be part of this ground breaking project and to be working alongside such innovative and prestigious UK companies. The choice of Greenwich to host Move_UK further consolidates Greenwich’s position as a living lab for smart mobility in the heart of the Capital, and a leader in smart city innovation.  We look forward to gaining valuable insights into the operations of connected cars in the future, how they can help address the problems modern cities face and also how we can help accelerate their deployment capturing the benefits for the UK, London and Greenwich.”

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Autonomous Vehicles

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