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Nissan, Renault, Hitachi to launch 200-mile driverless vehicle pilot in UK

Nissan’s European Technical Centre, Renault and the University of Leeds are leading the government-funded project.

By Sabrina Dougall

As Waymo, Lyft and Uber clock up the driverless miles, a British project is set to launch a 200-mile autonomous vehicle test drive.

The government and industry leaders have set wheels in motion for HumanDrive, which will use artificial intelligence to fine-tune intelligent navigation to boost British connected car capability. During the 30-month trial, the connected vehicle will navigate autonomous driving on country roads, high speed roundabouts, A-roads and motorways in live traffic.

Led by Nissan’s European Technical Centre, the University of Leeds, Cranfield University, Renault and Hitachi & Transport Systems Catapult are all revved for the smart vehicle to hit the road in December 2019. Aiming to increase driver/passenger comfort, the AI system is set to develop a natural driving style.autonomous vehicle

An artificial driver model will pilot the car, optimising decision-making as the vehicle makes tracks. The autonomous vehicle will undergo rigorous testing, involving simulation, hardware in the loop facilities, a private test track and smaller sections of public roads.

“This pioneering project will considerably enhance the experience of drivers who use future autonomous vehicles,” said Mark Westwood, Transport Systems Catapult Chief Technology Officer, “The HumanDrive project further reinforces the UK’s commitment to be at the forefront of future mobility, and as a world leader in R&D.”

Design and engineering consultancy Atkins will lead cyber security model and framework development and software firm Aimsun has been selected to model and assess the network benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles on the UK strategic road network.

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HumanDrive is supported by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), a joint unit of the Department for Transport and the Department for Business. In mid January, CCAV announced £15m investment for projects using simulating and modelling in the development of connected vehicles standards. The deadline is May 2 2018.

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Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said, “Low carbon and self-driving vehicles are the future and they are going to drive forward a global revolution in mobility.”

The Intelligent Mobility Fund is delivered by Innovate UK. Since 2014, Westminster has invested almost £100 million in CAV projects, with a further £56 million supplemented by industry.

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