An autonomous car project is to take place across the UK, taking in complex road layouts and country roads for the first time.

The 200-mile driving project will take place in December 2019, although engineers will have to simulate a range of conditions before it takes to the road.

The HumanDrive initiative is the project that is expected to fulfil Britain’s goal of getting widespread autonomous cars on UK roads by 2021.

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.

“Trailblazing projects like HumanDrive will play a vital role in helping us to deliver on that ambition.”

The project is a collaboration between Groupe Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Cranfield University and Highways England, among others.

Mark Westwood, chief technology officer of the Transport Systems Catapult, another partner in the program, said: “UK roads throw up some particular challenges. They are different from American roads, with roundabouts and demanding country lanes. These are really testing environments.”

The project will be start at Leeds University with human drivers showing off their skills on a simulator to collect data. Road data is also being collected from highways across the UK.

It will then begin trials and testing on private roads, before finally being allowed onto public roads by the end of 2019.

Autonomous cars have become a talking point for many car and mobility firms in the last few years. Tesla, Toyota, Uber, Nissan, Ford, Volvo and others have all been pushing to have autonomous cars on the road as soon as possible.

Ted Welford


February 1, 2018

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