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JLR, Ford and Tata begin connected car trials in Coventry

By Graeme Roberts | 17 November 2017

JLR says "highly trained test operators" are "supervising the cars at all times"

JLR says "highly trained test operators" are "supervising the cars at all times"

The UK's largest trial of connected and autonomous vehicle technology has moved onto public roads, with the UK Autodrive project starting city trials on the streets of central Coventry.

Project partners Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) have begun to collaboratively trial a number of connected car features in the city, with JLR and TMETC also separately trialling their autonomous vehicle research technologies.

The connected car trials are exploring the benefits of having cars that can 'talk' to each other and their surroundings, with connected traffic lights, emergency vehicle warnings and emergency braking alerts among the technologies being trialled.

The JLR and TMETC trials are being used to develop self driving vehicle technology in a real world setting but with highly trained test operators supervising the cars at all times.

More trials are scheduled to take place in Coventry and Milton Keynes early next year, followed by a final series of open road demonstration events in both cities during the second half of 2018.

"The fundamental purpose of UK Autodrive is to get connected and autonomous vehicle technology out onto UK roads, so the start of trialling on the streets of Coventry is clearly a major landmark both for the project and for the UK as a whole," said Tim Armitage, Arup's UK Autodrive project director.

"Our previous private test track trials showed that the technology works but it is only on real roads that we will start to see the scale of the benefits that it can bring to the general public."

As well as the on-road testing of connected and autonomous cars in Milton Keynes and Coventry, UK Autodrive is also trialling a fleet of up to 40 self-driving pavement-based 'pod' vehicles in Milton Keynes with both types of vehicle due to take part in the project's final technology demonstrations next year.

Connected car features being trialled