Business Secretary Sajid Javid this week announced the projects selected for funding by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) via Innovate UK to support the wide variety of digital and physical technologies that will be needed to supported driverless transport systems of the future.
From HORIBA Mira’s autonomous vehicles test centre in Nuneaton, the minister named eight projects to be funded as a result of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles competition, that last year offered up to £20 million of investment for business-led collaborative R&D projects and feasibility studies to stimulate developments in autonomous vehicles and connected transport systems.
These projects are the first to be funded from the government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund.
In the event, just over £17 million was awarded to part-fund the eight collaborative R&D projects, involving participation by 48 separate organisations - although both Jaguar Land Rover, and the University of Warwick’s Warwick Manufacturing Group will participate in two projects each.
With £9 million cumulative contribution by the participants themselves this results in the total budget for all eight projects amounting to £25.8 million.
In addition, the Business Secretary also announced funding for 14 feasibility studies to identify where additional data could help the UK CAV market develop. The details of these projects, recipients and awards are yet to be released a the time of writing.
Not just driverless vehicles but better connected vehicles
The projects will address issues such real-world testing of vehicle data connectivity technologies, putting driverless vehicles through their paces in simulators, studies of the human design aspects for older, disabled and visually-impaired people, the programming driverless cars to behave more like human drivers, and studying how driverless freight vehicles can be introduced.
Three of the projects are allied with the three ongoing government supported trials of driverless cars funded from the Introducing driverless cars to UK roads competition underway in the Bristol, Milton Keynes, Coventry and Greenwich.
The research brings forward specific technologies including a ‘CAV corridor’ along 41 miles of main roads around Coventry and Solihull, and even the application of technologies developed from drones to reliably maintain data connectivity with sub-metre precision, even outside areas with cellular data coverage.
Safer, faster, and cleaner
The ultimate aim of the government’s support is to position the UK as a centre for the intelligent mobility R&D expertise; the end market for which has been estimated to be worth £900 billion per year globally by 2025.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said, “Our cars of the future will be equipped with the technologies that will make getting from A to B safer, faster, and cleaner. They will alert drivers of accidents ahead and be able to receive information from their surroundings about hazards, increasing the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.”
The eight collaborative R&D projects
UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE) - an advanced test environment on main roads
The £5.6 million budget UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE) project will receive BIS funding of £3.41 million to set up an advanced test environment for connected and autonomous vehicles on major roads in the Coventry and Solihull area, close to the home of Jaguar Land Rover.
The 30 month project involves equipping 41 miles of urban roads, dual-carriageways and motorways with three types of mobile data communications technologies and test a fourth, LTE-V in order to establish the effectiveness of each technology for improving journeys; reducing traffic congestion; and providing entertainment and safety services.
The consortium that will deliver the project is made up of Visteon Engineering Services, Jaguar Land Rover, Coventry City Council, Siemens PLC, Vodafone Group Services Ltd, Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd, HORIBA MIRA Ltd, Coventry University, University of Warwick (WMG), and Highways England.
Jaguar and Land Rover said it is investing in a 41 mile 'living laboratory' project on UK roads for the project, as a ‘CAV test corridor’, including 41 miles of roads around Coventry and Solihull to be used to evaluate both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems in real-world conditions.
New roadside communications equipment will be installed along the route to enable the testing of a fleet of up to 100 connected and highly automated cars, including five Jaguar Land Rover research vehicles.
The 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.
The test four main connectivity technologies to be evaluated are: 4G-based LTE (Long Term Evolution), DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications), LTE-V (a more advanced version of LTE) and local WiFi hotspots.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said, This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover's research team and project partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions. Similar research corridors already exist in other parts of Europe so this test route is exactly the sort of innovation infrastructure the UK needs to compete globally.”
“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. These technologies will also help us meet the increasing customer demand for connected services whilst on the move.”
Jaguar Land Rover highlighted potential benefits of the research would be improved traffic flow, and connected cars that could co-operate and work together to make lane changing and exiting from junctions more efficient and safer. Technologies like Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) could also enable vehicles to autonomously follow each other in close formation, known as platooning, making driving safer and ensuring road space is used more efficiently.
The Jaguar Land Rover research team will also be testing a range of 'Over the Horizon' warning systems on the CAV test corridor. As well as warning drivers, these would inform future autonomous vehicles, helping them react and respond to hazards and changing traffic conditions automatically.
According to Dr Epple, “A well-informed driver is a safer driver, while an autonomous vehicle will need to receive information about the driving environment ahead. The benefits of smarter vehicles communicating with each other and their surroundings include a car sending a warning that it is braking heavily or stopping in a queue of traffic or around a bend. This will enable an autonomous car to take direct action and respond. Drivers would receive a visual and audible warning that another car is causing a hazard out of sight or over the horizon.”
“The approach of an emergency vehicle can often be stressful for drivers. If we can inform the driver, or the autonomous car, much earlier that an emergency vehicle is approaching, we can ensure that the best decisions are made to move the vehicle out of the way safely and conveniently, to let the emergency vehicle pass by.”
Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Emergency Vehicle Warning’ system would identify that a connected ambulance, fire engine or police car is approaching through car-to-car communication. The driver would then receive a warning, long before flashing lights and sirens are audible or visible.
Insight - to develop Heathrow’s Ultra PODS as part of the GATEway driverless car project in Greenwich
The three year Insight project, £2.2 million budget with £1.5 million BIS funding project will develop driverless shuttles with advanced sensors and control systems for testing pedestrian areas of the South East London Borough of Greenwich, with a focus on improving urban accessibility for disabled and visually-impaired people.
Led by Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises Ltd, Fusion Processing, Creative Example Ltd, Conigital, and Birmingham City University will develop automated pods for public trials this summer. Using entirely British engineering and software capabilities, the pods should be capable of operating fully autonomously and safely as part of the GATEway driverless car project in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
The project will develop the Heathrow Ultra PODS that have operated along tracks at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 for nearly five years. These zero-emission, battery operated pods have carried more than 1.5 million passengers, and have eliminated the need for 700,000 bus journeys and their associated emissions on local roads to the airport. The pods will be adapted to navigate the streets of Greenwich without the need for dedicated tracks.
Westfield will act as the vehicle integrator and manufacturer of the pods, responsible for the design and testing of the vehicles and ensuring they are manufactured in accordance with the current type approval requirements. Heathrow Enterprises will be responsible for vehicle software engineering, while Oxbotica will be deploying its vertically integrated autonomy solution, which includes mapping, localisation, perception and trajectory planning, to enable the safe operation of fully driverless shuttles in Greenwich. It will also implement an innovative cloud-based shuttle management system, enabling the shuttles to operate as part of a synchronised, self-governing ecosystem, complete with smartphone booking applications, monitoring and reporting.
The GATEway driverless car project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) is an £8 million project jointly funded by Innovate UK and industry. Led by TRL, which has over 50 years’ of experience in vehicle automation, the project will investigate public perception, reaction and engagement with a range of different types of automated vehicles.
The newly announced shuttle trial, which is one of three automated vehicle tests within the GATEway project, will also investigate public acceptance of automated shuttle vehicles. Other trials set to take place in the project include autonomous valet parking and automated deliveries.
Tools for autonomous logistics operations and management - transport modelling using ‘simulated worlds’
The Tools for autonomous logistics operations and management project is a collaboration of transport modellers and the computer games industry that intends to develop modelling designed to help improve the return on investment in Connected and Autonomous Vehicle fleets significantly.
The £3.2 million budgeted, £2 million provided by BIS, 36 month project will be carried out by Immense Simulations Ltd, and Improbable.
Immense Simulations Limited is a newly launched private company, registered in Faringdon, Oxfordshire.
Improbable traces its origins to Cambridge University around three years ago, and now has a team of over eighty people. It has developed SpatialOS, a distributed operating system for building ‘simulated worlds’ - that is designed for providing insight to those asking questions of complex systems.
Improbable as it sounds, it Immense Simulations is now based Based in Farringdon Road, London.
Update: On 11 February 2016, Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) announced that Immense Simulations Ltd was it own spinout company and that it and Improbable will develop ‘tools for autonomous logistics operations and management’ using Improbable’s SpatialOS distributed simulation platform.
According to TSC, the project team seeks to build on existing research in cooperative routing, fleet operations, predictive vehicle health management and real time traffic management - when combined with Improbable’s SpatialOS developer platform - for the first time, according to TSC, fleet operators will be expected to be able to optimise the operation of autonomous fleets at city-wide scale.
TSC CEO Steve Yianni explained: “Fleet operations and logistics planning is a well-established element of the value chain for fleets of vehicles. It is expected that autonomous vehicles will have a huge impact in this area, and that this project will help the industry prepare for this eventuality by developing solutions for operating fleets of autonomous vehicles. Transport Systems Catapult spin-out ‘Immense Simulations’ is designed to meet the needs of this project”
The Collaborative Research and Development project team also includes Cubic Transportation Systems, an integrator of payment and information technology and services for transportation authorities and operators. The research work will be performed at the Cubic Innovation Centre in London and in Transport Systems Catapult Milton Keynes office.
“Research in autonomous vehicles has so far centred on the technical problem of removing drivers. This ambitious project will fill a much needed gap: how we then optimise these vehicles on a huge scale to ensure they fulfil the promise of greater efficiency. Equally, little effort has been made in understanding the indirect consequences of introducing the autonomous vehicles. The ability to simulate the potential effects of these fleets will be invaluable to the industry”, said Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable.
“Powerful simulation which includes thousands, or even millions, of entities simulated in real-time, has always been hindered by the inability of developers to integrate and scale existing models easily, or to run them at massive scale or in real time. Our platform, SpatialOS, solves these problems. We are excited by the ambition of this project and look forward to seeing how SpatialOS will enable a new tool for the transport industry,” said Narula.
FLOURISH - aiming to enable travel freedom for older adults
Allied to the Bristol based VENTURER project, the FLOURISH project proposes to develop tools to improve understanding of the user needs and expectations of future connected and autonomous vehicles.
The £5.5 million budgeted (£3.7 million BIS supported) project is led by Atkins with consortium partners TSS - Transport Simulation Systems, Age UK, Airbus Group, React AI Ltd (Aiseedo), AXA UK plc, Bristol City Council, Imtech Traffic & Infra UK (now named Dynniq), Office for Public Management, South Gloucestershire Council, Designability, Transport Systems Catapult, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Bristol.
According to a joint statement published by TSS, Atkins, and University of Bristol, FLOURISH will address critical areas of cyber security and security of wireless communications. The consortium aims to develop tools to enable vehicle manufacturers and transport authorities to create a safe and secure CAV network.
The three-year project seeks to develop products and services that maximise the benefits of Connected and Autonomous vehicles (CAVs) for users and transport authorities, and by using a ‘user-centred approach’ achieve a better understanding of consumer demands and expectations, including the implications and challenges of an ageing society.
These capabilities in both urban and suburban areas in the Bristol region.
Members of the FLOURISH consortium are:
Atkins will act as lead partner providing project management, transport modelling and intelligent mobility expertise
Age UK will be a ‘critical friend’ to FLOURISH supporting the social research elements of the project
Airbus Group Innovations will offer expertise in model-based system engineering, cyber security, human-machine interfaces, human state monitoring and data fusion
Aiseedo will provide artificial intelligence software to enable automated systems to make autonomous decisions and adapt to complex situations in real-time
AXA will provide insurance and legal expertise
Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council will provide on-road trials support and drive local community engagement Bristol Robotics Laboratory will provide expertise in CAVs, control and systems integration
Designability to work with users and beneficiaries to develop Human Machine Interfaces for use in a vehicular environment
Imtech Traffic & Infra to develop and conduct on-road demonstrations of technology that enables vehicle-to-infrastructure communication and intelligent network operation of CAVs
OPM Group will provide research support relating to user needs and public acceptance
Transport Systems Catapult will help develop human-machine interfaces and provide support for simulated and real world testing
TSS-Transport Simulation Systems will assemble a simulation test environment using its Aimsun traffic modelling software, that can be used for the assessment of automated vehicle implementation scenarios from motorway to urban use.
University of Bristol will develop secure wireless communication systems and support real-world testing.
University of the West of England will conduct research into user needs and experiences of CAVs and will be involved in the development of Human Machine Interfaces providing human factors expertise
Dr John McCarthy, FLOURISH project lead and Atkins' Technical Director, said “FLOURISH, though by its nature and design is both in-depth and wide reaching, is simple in its intention and focus. FLOURISH is about empowerment. We will aim to empower two distinct but overlapping areas of vulnerability, the person and the technical systems that it connects to. FLOURISH seeks to enhance mobility options for older people and those facing mobility challenges through the development of user-centric CAVs.”
UWE Bristol said an interdisciplinary team from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory will contribute to the design and development (through ongoing human factors testing) of adaptable Human-Machine interfaces (HMIs) which are responsive to people's different accessibility needs. Target-user groups will have a complex range of co-morbidities which can result in impaired vision, loss of hearing, painful or restricted mobility, poor movement control and issues with balance and difficulties with speech, memory and attention, including occasional confusion.
It said that enabling these user groups to communicate intuitively, confidently and safely with an autonomous vehicle requires sophisticated multi-modal interaction capability, and intelligent sensing and responsiveness, which mainstream autonomous vehicles won't necessarily support. The research will address these challenges by building on the teams’ experience of human factors, assistive technology design and psychology.
Associate Professor Caleb-Solly from Bristol Robotics Laboratory said, “We will develop a driving simulator that will be integrated into a pod shell and trialled with end-users as part of an iterative design process. This will enable us to optimise the designs of the vehicle interfaces to make them intuitive and easy to use, providing useful journey information and enhancing the journey experience.”
The findings from working on the simulator development and testing will be transferred to designing the actual physical interfaces which will be integrated into a real pod. A series of physical trials in a range of contexts to test usability and integration with other information sources will then be conducted. Real-world trials with older adults will also assess user experience and user interaction with the human-machine interfaces, focussing on subjective, performance and physiological response measures. Experience of running the trials will enable the development of a standard assessment framework to determine HMI and vehicle adaptations needed for different types of disability needs.
The UWE Bristol and Bristol Robotics Laboratory team (BRL) comprises Professor Tony Pipe from BRL who will research the security systems used to drive the vehicle; Associate Professor Praminda Caleb-Solly from BRL will contribute to the design of the adaptable Human-Machine Interfaces and evaluation studies; Professor Graham Parkhurst and Dr Ian Shergold from UWE Bristol's Centre for Transport and Society will expertise on older citizens' mobility needs; and Professor Chris Alford and Dr Phil Morgan from UWE Bristol Department of Psychology will be leading the applied psychology and human factors aspects of the project.
MOVE_UK - programming autonomous cars to be more like human drivers
The MOVE-UK project will be focused on accelerating the development, market readiness and deployment of automated driving systems. The £5.5 million budgeted, £3.4 million BIS funded, project is led by Bosch, with participation of Jaguar Land Rover Limited, TRL, The Floow Limited, Direct Line Insurance, and Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Bosch, together with Jaguar Land Rover, will provide vehicles, technology and state-of-the-art design expertise to the project.
During the three-year MOVE_UK project, driverless systems will be tested in the real world, providing large amounts of data that will be used to develop and improve the technology. This data will enable the development of new and faster ways of improving and demonstrating the safety of automated driving systems.
TRL will house and process the data captured, providing essential insight for future tests and informing any regulatory changes that will need to be made.
Direct Line Group’s contribution to the project will help to bridge the gap between the automotive and insurance industries by providing dialogue and reassessing the risk landscape for automated cars.
The Floow’s telematics system will compare the behaviour of the automated vehicle to that of a human driver in the same real world environment.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is the host local authority providing a smart city trial environment for the project. The borough is home to the UK’s Smart Mobility Living Lab - an open, real world, test environment for connected and automated vehicles.
On the theory that drivers would be more likely to trust autonomous cars if they don't drive like robots, Jaguar Land Rover said the research will help programme future autonomous cars to have driver-like reactions.
The project will help develop future insurance policies for automated vehicles.
The company said a fleet of its vehicles will be driven by employees of the London Borough of Greenwich to establish how a range of different drivers react to real-world driving situations, including heavy traffic, busy junctions, road works and bad weather.
Data from sensors in these cars will capture driving habits and decision-making, including in complex and stressful scenarios, such as in giving way at roundabouts and intersections, easing forward at junctions to enter a flow of traffic, or reacting to emergency vehicle coming up behind their car in traffic.
Actuaries and other insurance experts will analyse the liability of scenarios encountered in the driving data that will arise from the fleet of test cars.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said, “To successfully introduce autonomous cars, we actually need to focus more on the driver than ever before. Understanding how drivers react to a range of very dynamic and random situations in the real world is essential if we want drivers to embrace autonomous cars in the future.”
“Drivers will need to completely trust the vehicle before they opt-in and engage automated systems. If an autonomous car can be programmed to have a very similar reaction to a real driver, then the autonomous experience will be more natural, and the driver more likely to allow the car to take control.”
“Customers are much more likely to accept highly-automated and fully autonomous vehicles if the car reacts in the same way as the driver. By understanding and measuring positive driving behaviours we can ensure that an autonomous Jaguar or Land Rover of the future will not simply perform a robotic function,” added Dr Epple.
“Ultimately we want to be able to give drivers the choice of an engaged or autonomous drive. If drivers have confidence in the automation they will seamlessly flick from one mode to the other. Autonomous mode will help with any challenging, or less stimulating activities on the journey, like parking or driving in heavy traffic. If this automated experience feels natural and safe, the driver will be able to genuinely relax and will be happy to let the car take control.”
INnovative Testing of Autonomous Control Techniques (INTACT) - RDM Autonomous Vehicles tested in WMG’s simulator
The INnovative Testing of Autonomous Control Techniques (INTACT) project will reduce the cost of testing and evaluating autonomous control systems in a safe, repeatable, controlled and scientifically rigorous environment.
The £1 million; £850,000 BIS funded; two year project involves vehicles provided by Richmond Design and Marketing, being tested in University of Warwick’s driving simulators at WMG.
Coventry based engineering solutions company Richmond Design and Marketing is a participant in the UK Autodrive project, that is working to demonstrate the potential for autonomous vehicles in Milton Keynes and Coventry.
WMG said the INTACT project will test driverless pods with laser scans of Coventry roads as part of Intelligent Transport Initiative
Professor Paul Jennings from WMG at the University of Warwick said “The vehicles will be tested on a state of the art simulator we have just installed in WMG. It will use a LIDAR scan (essentially a high resolution laser scan of an environment) of 30 miles of real roads around the City of Coventry to the test vehicles in the simulator.”
“The simulator can be configured so that different vehicles can be driven into it for testing, and the real world wireless environment will be recreated too. We believe both will be novel capabilities for such an advanced simulator.”
David Keene, Chairman of RDM Group, said the advanced simulation technology will be sued to analyse how driverless vehicles will react before being deployed in the real world.
“It will speed up the testing process considerably and help with the positioning of the sensors on the pods. Yet another example of how university and industry can work together to put the region and the country at the forefront of driverless technology.”
The WMG Simulator: The drive-in, driver-in-the-loop, multi-axis driving simulator in WMG that will be used in INTACT, was developed following an award of £3.2 million by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Currently situated in the International Manufacturing Centre, it will permanently move to the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) in 2017. It is claimed to be the world’s first immersive, simulated environment for smart and connected vehicles which includes full emulation of wireless communications - the simulator will be a centrepiece as part of NAIC's Virtual Reality centre.
Pathway to Autonomous Commercial Vehicles
The Pathway to Autonomous Commercial Vehicles project will develop a solution to monitor information from commercial vehicles to predict safety risks based through analytic techniques. It will build on a prototype which monitors tyre pressures and temperatures in commercial vehicles, combined with an always-on network connection.
The £1.2 million (£900,000 funded by BIS), 24 months project is led by Eastleigh, Hampshire, based Tructyre Fleet Management, and also involves the University of Portsmouth, Satellite Applications Catapult, and RL Automotive.
Tructyre’s TyreWatch tyre pressure monitoring system for commercial vehicle fleets includes sensors mounted in the wheels of trucks, that continuously monitors pressure, temperature, speed and location. When the system detects an issue, it immediately informs both the driver and the fleet management office so action can be taken. Non-urgent issues, like slow pressure loss or a modest temperature increase, can be fixed once the vehicle returns to base. If rapid pressure leakage or high temperatures are sense it generates an urgent stop alert.
Tructyre said the project is the result of 18 months of preparation that evolved out of Tructyre’s fleet management work.
According to Tructyre, managing director Glenn Sherwood, Tructyre approached the University of Portsmouth with a view to running research designed to take tyre-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) type equipment "to the next level". The university said the pre-research was innovative and deserved to be forwarded to Innovate UK. Along the way Satellite Applications Catapult as well as RL Automotive (known for its tyre scanning equipment) got involved.
Tructyre said that all major tyre manufacturers are running their own TPMS programmes, but the role of commercial vehicles and the importance of tyres and wheels in particular are underrepresented in telematics and driverless research.
The two year effort is split into four modules, the first of which will start on 1 April 2016 and is due to be completed in the summer of 2016. The project is aiming to produce what it says is “proper tyre telematics” based on real-life data.
i-MOTORS - Intelligent Mobility for Future Cities Transport Systems - developing a standardised Vehicle to Anything (V2X) system
The i-MOTORS - Intelligent Mobility for Future Cities Transport Systems - project proposes to a proof-of-concept connected Vehicle to Anything (V2X) system accessible via a mobile platform. In addition, the project will develop hardware to receive and analyse sensory data in real-time from multiple locations via ‘the cloud’, that offers to raise the bar for data-processing in the connected and autonomous driving industry. The 'inventive' element of the project is application of technologies developed for drones (or remotely piloted aircraft systems) to reliably maintain data connectivity 'beyond line of sight' with sub-metre precision, even outside areas with cellular data coverage.
Led by digital technology company Control F1 and the University of Nottingham’s Geospatial Institute and its Human Factors Research Group, the i-Motors project brings together traffic management specialists InfoHub Ltd, remote sensing experts Head Communications and telecoms company Huduma.
Based in Huddersfield and London, Control F1 specialises in IoT and telematics, web and mobile application development.
The Nottingham Geospatial Institute (NGI) is a cross-disciplinary research and postgraduate teaching institute at The University of Nottingham, on campuses in the UK and China. NGI’s specialisms include satellite navigation and positioning systems, photogrammetry, remote sensing, sensor integration, geoinformatics and data modelling, geospatial intelligence, location based services, semantics, reasoning and cognition.
The Human Factors Research Group works on projects funded by sponsors from Research Councils, industry, European Commission and charities. In many of its projects, the group collaborates with colleagues from other disciplines, including manufacturing and electrical engineering, computer science, geospatial science, medicine and education, in its own and partner institutions.
The project aims for its communications protocol to be recognised at the de-facto industry standard for connected and autonomous vehicles, including for how the resulting data is stored and processed. The project has been awarded £1.325 million by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) via Innovate UK, with the i-Motors partners cumulatively contributing an additional £375,000.
Control F1 said the i-Motors team will use a patented technology, said to enable data to be collected and analysed at greater speeds than ever before. The data can be combined with other data sources, such as weather reports, event data and traffic feeds, for easing congestion and increasing safety through realtime updates and route planning. In addition, the proposed platform is designed to allow vehicles to report functional errors, that can be automatically crosschecked against similar reports to diagnose problems and reduce the chances of breakdowns. The project will adopt a human-centred approach, aiming to understand the complex issues involved in the provision of new information and services for the ‘drivers’ of future vehicles.
Using Head Communications remote sensing expertise i-Motors will also address the issue of limited connectivity by developing sensors that will be capable of ransmitting data to ‘the cloud’ in realtime. Vehicles equipped with Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) sensors will be able to stay connected for location positioning to sub-metre accuracy, even without access to mobile data and GPS reception. The project will make use of Huduma’s experience of telecoms solutions to make i-Motors sustainable and commercially successful.
The i-Motors project will be supported by Nottingham, Coventry and Sheffield City Councils, where the new technology will be piloted, and a letter of support from the Transport Systems and Satellite Applications Catapults, and fleet management experts Isotrak. The project will make use of live vehicle data provided by Ford, which has an ongoing relationship with the University of Nottingham.
Control F1 MD Andy Dumbell said, “Connected and driverless cars offer us the opportunity to make huge strides in terms of reducing congestion, bringing down emissions, and even saving lives. Yet as is always the case when dealing with big data, it’s only effective if you know how to use it. We believe that through i-Motors we can set the standard for connected and autonomous vehicles and redefine the future of our streets, highways and cities.”
Carl Howarth, Control F1’s Technical Director, added that the project participants recognise that the concerns of potential users of such technologies, and society as a whole, needs to be addressed.
“We’re thinking of security and privacy upfront”, he said. “The telematic data will be provided through arrangements with partner councils and fleet operators. But we’re mindful that, down-the-line, the technology could be used to create in-vehicle consumer services; these would always require opt-in permissions.”
“We’ll also look to explore means to ensure the standard has the greatest chance of adoption. Our aim is to produce an open standard, with the ultimate aim being OEM potential.”
“We also see security as a high priority, and is considered upfront. For instance, the BLOS device has end-to-end encryption built-in as standard, and integrated into the cloud platform. We see end-to-end encryption as a core function of a working ‘Internet of Things’ and telematics space.”
”We recognise that such human factors are important, which is why we have Human Factors Research Group working on the project. Connected and autonomous vehicles will require a lot adjustment, so we need to understand users and ensure their buy-in for the benefits these technologies could provide for improving society.”
Helping make UK the best place to develop Intelligent Mobility businesses
Roland Meister, Head of Transport at the UK’s innovation experts Innovate UK, said, “The UK is rapidly becoming one of the best places in the world for companies to develop their Intelligent Mobility business.”
“Driven by our work with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles this competition has connected together the UK’s fantastic automotive industry, the research base, the insurance sector, public authorities with high growth businesses working in human behavioural science, telematics, information technology, communications, simulation, advanced sensor systems and machine learning.”
KTN helped consortia consider societal factors of their research ideas
KTN promoted a briefing and networking event for this competition in London on 4 August, attracted around 270 attendees in persona and online via live webinar, including representatives of more than half the participants above and from all but one of the successful eight projects.
For this competition, societal shifts may result and could influence the direction of projects, so KTN’s expertise in cross-sector thinking was on hand to encourage the technologists to consider the broader societal and environmental factors that could come into play.
However, as KTN’s Rob Furlong emphasised in his ‘hints and tips’ session, the long term benefit of Innovate UK funding for the businesses concerned are the relationships that are formed in these collaborations.