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TRL to contribute to £11m JLR driverless vehicle research project

Date: 21 October 2015   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

TRL, the Transport Research Laboratory, has announced it is part of an £11m research project to develop driverless cars.

The programme, which is jointly funded by Jaguar Land Rover and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will look at questions that need to be answered before autonomous vehicles can be allowed onto the nation's roads without jeopardizing the safety of other road users.

TRL is the only non-university research centre that is involved in the programme. It will work alongside the University of Surrey, Warwick University and Imperial College London on a project to understand how autonomous controls and cloud computing can be integrated with vehicles.

The five-year research programme was announced earlier this month by secretary of state for business, Sajid Javid, during a visit to JLR's headquarters in Gaydon.

The programme follows a joint call for research proposals from JLR and EPSRC and will feature the five projects selected from a pool of submissions.

The other four projects which will be conducted during the programme are:

  • A team led by the universities of Birmingham and Edinburgh will focus on the development of new radar sensors and advanced video analysis that would allow driverless cars to better identify obstacles and hazards on the road.
  • Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton will study drivers' reactions to autonomous vehicles, with the aim of designing the best driver-vehicle interaction.
  • University College London engineers together with Cranfield University researchers will look into the effects of automated driving on drivers' attention and cognition and the possible negative impact of these on driving.
  • Researchers from the University of Warwick will focus on the development of a self-learning car that will minimise distractions, enhance safety and deliver a personalised driving experience.

"The UK Government has no intention of being a passenger in innovation so is pioneering autonomous car technology in partnership with industry," said Javid. "This £11 million research and development programme and the winning projects are a perfect example of this and will help to keep us at the forefront of the robotics revolution."

"The project will explore how increasingly automated and connected vehicles can operate safely and securely when connected to each other and, via the road infrastructure, to cloud-based resources," said Alan Stevens, chief scientist at TRL.

"Ultimately the aim is to develop a secure framework that will enable the implementation of safe and robust semi-autonomous functions on future cars in the short term, and fully autonomous cars in the long term," he added.