Hitachi Automotive Systems says it will conduct a verification test drive of an autonomous driving system co-developed with Hitachi Group’s Clarion Co on the Hitachinaka Road, a toll facility in Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The verification test drive, supported by Ibaraki Prefecture, is the first time Hitachi Automotive Systems is testing an autonomous driving system on a public road.

It follows the recognition by Ibaraki Prefecture in August last year of Hitachi Automotive Systems as one of the corporations advancing verification testing of future robotics technologies for their practical application. The verification test drive is scheduled to take place from Monday, 22 February, to Friday, 26 February.

The test drive will take place on an expressway in which information from the test vehicles’ 360° surroundings detection sensor fusion will be integrated with information on geographic features obtained from high-precision maps.

This will allow the test vehicle to recognise and follow road lanes and other vehicles in its surroundings to automatically carry out single-lane driving and lane changes. For the collection of experimental data, the verification test drive will be carried out under varying conditions such as weather, time and daylight.

Hitachi Automotive Systems’ sensor fusion sensing system allows omnidirectional detection around the test vehicle. In addition to a pair of stereo cameras in the front, it is made up of four single-lens Clarion SurroundEye cameras mounted to the front, rear, left and right of the vehicle.

Four millimetre-wave radars are mounted on the front and rear ends of both sides. Information from omnidirectional sensing is fused with high-precision mapping information to obtain wide-area information.

The information is then used by the electronic control unit to automatically integrate control of the engine, steering wheel and brakes to achieve automated acceleration, steering, and braking.

This is equivalent to Automated Driving Level 2 and will be verified on an expressway.