Programmatic Lunch

Jaguar, Ford, Tata connected and driverless cars make their way on to UK roads

Tyrone Stewart

UK Autodrive Ford Jaguar Land Rover TataUK Autodrive, the UK’s largest trial of connected and autonomous vehicle tech, has made its way on to the UK’s roads with in-city trials kicking off in Coventry.

The project is partnered by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Ford, and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC). Between them, they have started trialling connected car features in West Midlands city, while JLR and TMETC are also trialling their self-driving research tech.

The self-driving cars being tested by JLR and TMETC will have trained test operators supervising the cars at all times. UK Autodrive is also testing a fleet of 40 self-driving pavement ‘pods’ in Milton Keynes.

“The fundamental purpose of UK Autodrive is to get connected and autonomous vehicle technology out onto UK roads, so the start of trialling on the streets of Coventry is clearly a major landmark both for the project and for the UK as a whole,” said Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director. “Our previous private test track trials showed that the technology works but it is only on real roads that we will start to see the scale of the benefits that it can bring to the general public.”

The features being trialled in the programme include emergency vehicle warning, which alerts connected cars that the emergency services are nearby; intersection collision warning; in-vehicle signage, which sends information about road conditions, congestion, and other incidents to the in-car display; electronic emergency brake light; green light optimal speed advisory, which sends traffic light information to a connected car; intersection priority management, which prioritises connected cars at an intersection without signs or traffic lights; and collaborative parking.

More trials are set to take place in Coventry and Milton Keynes early next year, with a final series of open road demonstrations in the second half of 2018.