Steer­ing the wheel

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - COURSE FOCUS -

UNIVER­SITY of Southamp­ton is con­tribut­ing to the £ 11mil ( RM65mil) driver­less cars pro­ject where its re­searchers will be work­ing on the new re­search pro­gramme to de­velop fully au­ton­o­mous cars.

The pro­gramme, jointly funded by the En­gi­neer­ing and Phys­i­cal Sci­ences Re­search Coun­cil ( EPSRC) and Jaguar Land Rover, is made up of five new projects, in­volv­ing 10 univer­si­ties from the United King­dom and the Trans­port Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory.

It was an­nounced by Bri­tish sec­re­tary of State for Busi­ness Sa­jid Javid dur­ing a visit to Jaguar Land Rover’s fa­cil­ity at Gay­don in War­wick­shire, Eng­land.

The Univer­sity of Southamp­ton, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, will lead the Hu­man In­ter­ac­tion: De­sign­ing Au­ton­omy in Ve­hi­cles ( HI: DAV) pro­ject to in­ves­ti­gate how driv­ers will re­act to new au­ton­o­mous sys­tems.

Us­ing the univer­sity’s driv­ing sim­u­la­tor, which com­prises a Jaguar XJ con­nected to com­put­ers with large pro­jec­tors and screens, the team will test driv­ers of dif­fer­ent ages, gen­der, ex­pe­ri­ence and ca­pa­bil­i­ties, in a range of sce­nar­ios ( for ex­am­ple, dif­fer­ent road types and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions) with dif­fer­ent au­to­ma­tion sys­tems ( for ex­am­ple, au­ton­o­mous driv­ing, auto- valet park­ing, adap­tive ve­hi­cle per­son­al­i­sa­tion and off- road as­sis­tance) and dif­fer­ent in­ter­faces.

The stud­ies will then progress from sim­u­la­tor to test track as driver and ve­hi­cle in­ter­ac­tion as well as in­ter­face de­signs evolve with test­ing.

On the test track, the phys­i­o­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal states of driv­ers will be recorded to see what fur­ther changes are needed and whether the au­to­ma­tion can be bet­ter tailored. As the re­search pro­gresses, re­vised de­signs will be ap­plied to road ve­hi­cles for the fi­nal set of tests.

Prof Neville Stan­ton from the Univer­sity of Southamp­ton, who is lead­ing the HI: DAV pro­ject, says, “Highly au­to­mated ve­hi­cles are likely to be on pub­lic roads within the next 10 years. The largest gap in our un­der­stand­ing of ve­hi­cle au­to­ma­tion is how driv­ers will re­act to this new tech­nol­ogy and how best to de­sign the driver- au­to­ma­tion in­ter­ac­tion.

“This pro­ject will an­swer th­ese ques­tions by study­ing a wide range of driv­ers with dif­fer­ent driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in sim­u­la­tors, on test- tracks and in road ve­hi­cles. This ap­proach aims to per­son­alise the driver in­ter­faces to the widest range of driv­ers pos­si­ble so that the sys­tem adapts to the driver, rather than the driver hav­ing to adapt to the sys­tem.”

Javid says, “The UK govern­ment has no in­ten­tion of be­ing a pas­sen­ger in in­no­va­tion and it will pi­o­neer au­ton­o­mous car tech­nol­ogy in part­ner­ship with the in­dus­try. This £ 11mil re­search and de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme and the win­ning projects are per­fect ex­am­ples of this and will help to keep us at the fore­front of the ro­bot­ics rev­o­lu­tion.”

As part of its strate­gic part­ner­ship with Jaguar Land Rover, EPSRC is­sued a joint call for re­search pro­pos­als that fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing fully au­ton­o­mous cars called To­wards Au­ton­omy – Smart and Con­nected.

Five projects were se­lected and Jaguar Land Rover will be lead­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tion with th­ese suc­cess­ful re­search groups.

Dr Wolf­gang Ep­ple, di­rec­tor of Re­search and Tech­nol­ogy, Jaguar Land Rover, says, “To re­alise the fu­ture po­ten­tial for fully au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles, we need to give driv­ers, pedes­tri­ans and other road users the con­fi­dence that a car driv­ing around with lit­tle or no hu­man in­put is a safe, vi­able and re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Th­ese col­lab­o­ra­tive projects will bring some of the UK’s lead­ing academics to­gether with our au­ton­o­mous driv­ing team to ad­dress the fun­da­men­tal real- world chal­lenges that are part of our jour­ney to­wards au­ton­o­mous driv­ing.”

Prof Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s chief ex­ec­u­tive and for­mer pro vice- chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of Southamp­ton, says, “Sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing re­search is vi­tal to tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion and to keep­ing UK busi­nesses at the fore­front of global mar­kets. This joint in­vest­ment shows how strate­gic part­ner­ships be­tween re­search coun­cils, univer­si­ties and busi­nesses can iden­tify in­dus­try chal­lenges and build the aca­demic ex­per­tise needed to meet them. The univer­si­ties and part­ners in th­ese projects will take novel ap­proaches to safely change the way we travel in the fu­ture.”

Through world- lead­ing re­search and en­ter­prise ac­tiv­i­ties, the Univer­sity of Southamp­ton con­nects with busi­nesses to cre­ate real- world so­lu­tions to global is­sues.

Through its ed­u­ca­tional of­fer­ing, it works with part­ners around the world to of­fer rel­e­vant, flex­i­ble education, which trains stu­dents for the usual and un­usual work­force.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. southamp­ton. ac. uk.

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