A British-based research project into the latest autonomous vehicle technologies has successfully completed a 230-mile self-navigated journey on UK roads.
The project, HumanDrive, is jointly funded by UK
government through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and
Innovate UK, and nine other consortium partners, including SBD Automotive. The
joint funding package for the project totalled £13.5m.
The research project has successfully completed two trials, a 230-mile self-navigated journey on UK roads – ‘Grand Drive’ – using advanced positioning technology and also a test track based activity which explored human-like driving using machine learning to enhance the user experience.
The test vehicles included Nissan LEAFs, featuring GPS, radar, LIDAR and camera technologies that build up a perception of the world around it. Using that perceived world, the system can make decisions about how to navigate roads and obstacles it encounters on a journey.
Grand Drive in Detail
The first element of the project was the ‘Grand Drive’ from Cranfield, Bedfordshire, to Sunderland. The achievement was the culmination of 30 months’ work by the HumanDrive consortium – a team led by Nissan engineers in the UK, working in partnership with consortium members.
One of the key aspects of the project was to develop an advanced, autonomous vehicle control system. Ensuring that future advanced autonomous drive systems create a comfortable and familiar experience for customers is important as we move towards a more connected and autonomous future.
The 230 mile journey saw the lessons learned put into practice in a range of driving scenarios to negotiate country lanes with no or minimal road markings, junctions, roundabouts and motorways. The autonomous technology activated along the route to change lanes, merge and stop and start when necessary.
“HumanDrive has helped to place the UK on the map in terms of autonomous vehicle development, and in particular focusing minds on making the ‘ride’ experience as close to a human-driven car as possible” says David McClure, Head of Cyber Security at SBD Automotive. “SBD’s role in the project was to think about the cyber threats that could face a production version of the HumanDrive system, and to develop an over-arching security concept that will help protect future autonomous vehicles from malicious attack. As experts in connected and autonomous vehicles, SBD Automotive has a niche offering compared to more generalist cyber companies.”