The largest autonomous and connected car trial held on the UK’s public roads has taken place in Coventry, testing the self-driving tech in real-life scenarios for the first time.
Among the members of the UK Autodrive project, who have organised the trials, are Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Ford and the Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC). Each has donated a model from their range to participate – a Hexa from Tata, a Range Rover Sport and F-Pace from JLR and a Mondeo from Ford.
The trials are meant to examine how effectively connecting cars will be able to ‘talk’ to each other, traffic lights and other obstacles on the road, and are also meant to test the ability to network and provide advanced information such as emergency vehicle warnings.
The two Tata subsidiaries, JLR and TMETC, are currently focusing on testing autonomous vehicle technology, using GPS-connected vehicles that are autonomous-capable but have a d river behind the wheel for safety.
Plans to expand the trials to the city of Milton Keynes in early 2018 are on schedule, with a final series of open road demonstrations have also been scheduled for the second half of next year.
The Range Rover Sport prototype that took part is capable of Level 4 autonomy. This means it can drive itself but requires a driver behind the wheel just in case. The tech is supposed to be capable of negotiating roundabouts and junctions and responding to traffic lights as it drives around a simulated urban road network.
Tata Motors’ wholly-owned subsidiary, TMETC, had previously trialled a modified Tata Tiago and is main developer of the Tata Tiago EV revealed in September 2017 and the Bolt BEV that we had exclusively driven in December 2016.