Jaguar Land Rover and EPSRC announce £11 million autonomous vehicle research programme
How can cars become fully independent of human direction? What is the best technology to incorporate into new vehicles and infrastructure? How will humans and vehicles interact with each other and their environment?
These are just a few of the questions facing academics and industrialists who will be working on a new £11 million research programme to develop fully autonomous cars, jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Jaguar Land Rover.
The research, which will take place at ten UK universities and the Transport Research Laboratory, was announced last week by Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid during a visit to Jaguar Land Rover’s facility at Gaydon in Warwickshire.
As part of its strategic partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, EPSRC issued a joint call for research proposals that focussed on developing fully autonomous cars: Towards Autonomy – Smart and Connected Control (TASCC). Five projects were selected and Jaguar Land Rover will be leading the collaboration with these successful research groups.
The projects will look into the use of radar and video sensing to interpret the external environment, road conditions and other road users; how drivers will react to new autonomous systems; how systems can be designed to adapt to the personal characteristics of users; investigate how the transition between human control and automated systems can be designed to best effect; how distributed control systems and cloud computing can be integrated with vehicles; and how data from intelligent infrastructure, drivers and automated vehicles can be used to aid interaction.
Business Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “The UK Government has no intention of being a passenger in innovation so is pioneering autonomous car technology in partnership with industry. This £11 million research and development programme and the winning projects are a perfect example of this and will help to keep us at the forefront of the robotics revolution.”
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “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.”
Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said; “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 the research councils, universities and business can identify industry’s 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.”
EPSRC is working in partnership to deliver the UK’s national strategy in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (PDF, 1.75MB).