Self-driving cars in the UK will soon be tested on a 200-mile public route

Self-driving cars in the UK will soon be tested on a 200-mile public route
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Self-driving cars will soon be seen cruising around a 200-mile public route in the UK as the country prepares for larger deployments.

The Midlands Future Mobility consortium is leading the project which will see the cars driving on roads around central Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, and the University of Warwick.

A variety of road types have been included in the route to put the vehicles to the test – including urban, rural, and motorways.

Initially, the route will be around 190 miles but it will be extended to over 200 miles later this year.

Connected vehicles will first be introduced to the route rather than full self-driving cars. Tests will include communication between cars to warn of things such as upcoming hazards.

Costain, a partner in the consortium, has begun building the infrastructure required for connected vehicles with assistance from Siemens.

John Batterbee, Technology Solutions Director, Costain Group comments:

“Today is a key milestone in starting to deploy the advanced infrastructure technologies we’ve developed over the last couple of years that are putting the UK at the forefront of the global mobility revolution.

The cameras and video analytics we’re deploying will, for example, save lives by enabling drivers to be alerted to hazards beyond the line of sight.”

Wilke Reints, Managing Director of Intelligent Traffic Systems for Siemens Mobility in the UK, comments:

“With CAVs offering huge potential to improve safety, reduce congestion and help optimise traffic flow, this project is a further demonstration of the UK’s capabilities in this exciting and fast-moving sector.

It allows us collectively to demonstrate how smart technology enables vehicles to be connected via high-speed, high-capacity wireless infrastructure across a whole road network.”

When fully-autonomous vehicles are deployed on the route, a backup driver will also be available at all times. A passenger may also ride along for research purposes to analyse how the vehicle is performing in the real-world conditions.

The full test route is expected to be operational later this year.

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