Andrew Harris, chief engineer, software, controls and driver assistance, at Tata Motors said the system is not vulnerable to hacking. “It is fully secure and uses the same encryptions as a banking system.”
The technology is already in demand, says Brian Matthews, head of transport innovation at Milton Keynes Council. “Each parking slot in Milton Keynes has a land value of between £10,000 and £15,000 and if we can help people find a convenient space quickly, we don’t have to oversupply spaces.” There are 25,000 parking spaces available in Milton Keynes but at the busiest times when the popular areas are very full, there will still be 3000-4000 spaces available throughout the town. Matthews also sees the technology reducing congestion and stress by helping people to find them. According to UK Autodrive, 30% of congested urban traffic is due to drivers looking for parking spaces.
Jaguar Land Rover demonstrated a more sophisticated technology which enables a prototype autonomous Range Rover Sport to drive to an available parking slot and self-park. The level four autonomous vehicle is equipped with two LIDAR sensors and a long-range radar sensor at the front, a single LIDAR sensor at the rear and two GPS antenna on the roof. Level four is the highest level of autonomy while still retaining a driver. At level five, a car becomes driverless.
Work on this level started at Jaguar Land Rover in 2016 and has progressed quickly from level three, which essentially comprises advanced driver assistance systems. One of the main differences between the two levels, says Jim O’Donoghue, lead research engineer, level four autonomy, is the way in which the car hands back control to the driver. “It’s done in a timely manner rather than quickly like level three. If the driver doesn’t respond, the car will drive to a safe spot and park.” O’Donoghue says the technology could be ready for production in five to 10 years. It is expected that level four autonomous cars will share the roads with conventional cars for years to come.
The Autonomous Land Rover has been trialled on public roads before in Coventry, but this is the first time it had tackled roundabouts, which presented a new challenge in working out exit and entry points as well as right of way.
Arup’s Tim Armitage, UK Autodrive’s project director, says valet parking systems will allow autonomous vehicles to drop passengers off at their destinations before moving off to park out of town. Doing so will reduce the space needed for parking in city centres which could be put to better use.