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Vehicle fleet gathers data for autonomous vehicle research
A fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in the London Borough of Greenwich will be equipped with sensors to gather driving behaviour data for automation research.
As part of the “MOVE-UK” project involving a consortium led by Bosch and including Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), Direct Line Insurance and the London Borough of Greenwich, the British car manufacturer is investing heavily into the the driveability of future autonomous vehicles so that they drive more naturally.
As part of the project, London Borough of Greenwich employees will have daily use of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles which are equipped with sensors which detect how different drivers react to heavy traffic, poor weather, busy junctions and other real-world situations. The data from these sensors will be used to assess driver behaviour and choices made in complicated and stressful situatioins, such as giving way to emergency vehicles or joining the flow of traffic from a slip-road.
The data will be used for helping to develop autonomous control technology to make the car drive in more of a human fashion than that of a robot and it will also be used to assess the way the insurance industry will interact with vehicle automation.
Explaining how the development of autonomous cars depends on a deeper understanding of driver behaviour, JLR’s director of research and technology, Dr Wolfgang Epple said, “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.”
Programming an autonomous car to react in similar ways to a real driver will make the autonomous experience feel more natural and therefore the driver is more likely to allow the car to take control. This is an essential element of trust that is needed in order for owners to engage more readily with vehicle automation.
Explaining further, Dr Epple continued, “By understanding and measuring positive driving behaviours, we can ensure that an autonomous Jaguar or Land Rover of the future will not simply perform a robotic function and our customers are much more likely to accept them.”
“Ultimately we want to be able to give drivers the choice of an engaged or autonomous drive. If drivers have confidence in the automation, they will seamlessly flick from one mode to the other. Autonomous mode will help with any challenging or less stimulating activities on the journey, like parking or driving in heavy traffic. If this automated experience feels natural and safe, the driver will be able to genuinely relax and will be happy to let the car take control.”
In support of the UK Government’s support for the MOVE-UK research, the Secretary of State for Business, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP announced a £2.75 million grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.