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£ 5.640 Million

UK Connected Cars Initiative Gets Green-Light for Street Trials

A consortium of automotive giants working on connected and autonomous cars has been given the go-ahead to start testing its vehicles on Britain’s roads.

Autodrive—a £20 million R&D initiative sprung from the joint efforts of the UK government and industry giants including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, and Tata Motors— demoed its connected car technology on a private track in Nuneaton on Thursday.

The group  is now about to launch trials on the public roads  of Coventry and Milton Keynes by the end of 2017.

Autodrive’s connected vehicles are able to “talk” to each other and to other entities on the road. During the Nuneaton demonstration, the cars showcased three features in particular: they flagged up when an emergency vehicles was approaching (in order to ease congestion before ambulances or fire engines arrive on a given road); they warned their drivers of the presence of other connected cars near a junction; and they received and relayed traffic information from roadside beacons.
“The successful completion of the proving ground trials marks a significant milestone for the project team, and we are now looking forward to demonstrating the benefits of these exciting new technologies in the real-world settings of Milton Keynes and Coventry,” Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director, said in a statement.
“Once the technology becomes widely available, we anticipate huge potential benefits in terms of road safety, improved traffic flow and general access to transport, so we’re really excited about being able to demonstrate this on real roads.”

Trials in Milton Keynes and Coventry will initially take place on closed-off segments of public roads, before moving on to open road tests in summer 2018.

Another part of the project, also to start soon, will involve the deployment of 40 self-driving ‘pods’ on the pavement of some of Milton Keynes’s pedestrianised areas.

Image via Autodrive

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