Jaguar and Land Rover announced their investment in a 41 mile ‘living laboratory’ project on UK roads to develop new Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies.
If US roads are already packed with autonomous vehicles testing their abilities through traffic, such experiments are not widespread throughout Europe. Jaguar Land Rover has revealed plans to begin testing self-driving technology on 41 miles of public roads, as part of a UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK CITE) project that’s worth 5.5 million pounds. The funding for this project, the first of its kind in the UK, is part of the government’s 100-million-pound Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) fund. The UK CITE plan will create the first test route capable of testing both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems on public roads in the UK. 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. This fleet will test a range of different communication technologies that could share information at very high speeds between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure, including traffic lights and overhead gantries.
Connected technologies would help authorities monitor and manage traffic flow by capturing data from all vehicles and then provide the drivers of autonomous cars with guidance on how to optimise the journey. 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, having the potential to eventually replace the overhead gantry, which each cost around 1 million pounds to install. “This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover’s research team and partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions,” Dr. Wolfgang Epple, JLR’s Director of Research and Technology said. “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.”