JLR says these connected cars can co-operate to make lane changing and exiting motorways more efficient, and autonomous technology such as Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control would enable them to safely follow each other closely (by platooning) improving safety and maximising road space.
UK CITE hopes this technology will remove the need for expensive overhead gantries, which cost around £1m to build, through the use of dashboard warning messages communicated directly to the car. The same connected technology could also pre-warn drivers of approaching emergency vehicles and incidents ahead of them, allowing them to make safer decisions to avoid further obstruction.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, JLR’s Director of Research and Technology said of the project: “This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover’s research team and partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions.
“The connected and autonomous vehicle features we will be testing will improve road safety, enhance the driving experience, reduce the potential for traffic jams and improve traffic flow. These technologies will also help us meet the increasing customer demand for connected services while on the move.”
Joining JLR in the UK CITE consortium is Visteon, Siemens, Coventry City Council, WMG, University of Warwick, HORIBA MIRA, Coventry University and Vodafone. The project has received £3.41mn worth of funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, making use of the Government’s £100m Connected Vehicles fund.
Epple confirmed how important projects like this are to ensure the UK remains a leader in vehicle development: “Similar research corridors already exist in other parts of Europe so this test route is exactly the sort of innovation infrastructure the UK needs to compete globally.”