Self-driving car takes first ride on Cov ring road
COVENTRY’S ring road might be the kind of layout to send a shiver down even the most experienced driver’s spine but a self-driving car has taken it in its stride.
The first self-driving circuit of one of the UK’s most challenging road layouts has been completed by a Range Rover Sport.
The high-tech vehicle repeated its navigation of the notorious ring road as part of a public demonstration of autonomous and connected vehicles on Monday.
The SUV handled the complex layout with ease, changing lanes, merging with traffic and exiting junctions up to the ring road speed limit of 40mph.
The demonstration formed part of the £20 million government-funded project, UK Autodrive, which ends this month after a three-year run.
The project saw Jaguar Land Rover complete extensive self-driving technology testing on closed tracks, including one at HORIBAMIRA near Nuneaton, before heading on to public roads in Coventry and Milton Keynes.
The Range Rover Sport’s existing Adaptive Cruise Control was modified to include additional navigation sensors, RADAR and LIDAR.
Coupled with the UK Autodrive research, it ensured the high-tech vehicle could autonomously handle roundabouts, traffic lights, pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles on complicated roads. It is also capable of parking itself.
Mark Cund, Jaguar Land Rover autonomous vehicle research manager, said: “The Coventry ring road is known for its complicated slip roads and exits. It makes for very challenging conditions, especially when under pressure in the rush hour.
“Our self-driving car is not impacted by the same pressure, frustrations or fatigue that a driver may experience and so it’s capable of turning a potentially very stressful situation into a completely stressfree one.” Jaguar Land Rover engineers have also developed connected features as part of UK Autodrive.
The safety-enhancing and emission reducing technology use the internet to connect vehicles to each other and to infrastructure such as traffic lights.
UK Autodrive has helped accelerate the development of Jaguar Land Rover’s self-driving and connected technology, which it plans to fit to vehicles in due course.
The Coventry car maker is working on fully-and semiautomated vehicle technologies to offer the choice of an engaged or automated drive.