A fleet of 100 smart tech research vehicles, including Jaguar and Land Rover models, will test new systems that enable cars to communicate with each other
Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced it will road test driverless, futuristic cars in the UK as part of a new government-backed 5.5 million-pound project aimed at making driving safer and avoiding traffic jams.
The 'UK-CITE' or UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment project will create the first test route capable of testing next-generation connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.
A fleet of 100 smart tech research vehicles, including Jaguar and Land Rover models, will test new systems that enable cars to communicate with each other, aimed at making driving safer and cutting traffic jams.
The plans by the luxury car brand - that has become UK's largest car maker - include creation of a new "living laboratory" aimed at developing "Connected and Autonomous Vehicle" (CAV) technologies with the help of a new CAV test corridor to evaluate new systems in real-world driving conditions.
The corridor includes 41 miles of roads around Coventry and Solihull in the West Midlands.
"This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover's research team and project partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions," Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology at JLR, said.
Epple said 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.
"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 whilst on the move," Epple said.
New roadside communications equipment will be installed along the route during the three-year UK-CITE project to enable the testing of a fleet of up to 100 connected and highly automated cars, including five Jaguar and Land Rover research vehicles.
This fleet will test a range of different communication technologies that could share information at very high speeds between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure, including traffic lights and overhead gantries or flashing road signs used on UK highways.