Horiba Mira hosts first UK collaborative trials of driverless cars

Ford EEBL Emergency Electronic Brake Lights is demonstrated during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Photo credit: Fabio De Paola/PA Wire

On 21 October Horiba Mira played host to the UK’s first collaborative trials of connected and autonomous vehicles. The £20 million research and development project, known as UK Autodrive, brought together Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) to jointly demonstrate a number of future vehicle technologies at Horiba Mira’s Proving Ground in Nuneaton.

UK Autodrive, jointly funded by government and industry, will start to trial connected (Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, TMETC) and autonomous (Jaguar Land Rover, TMETC) vehicles on public roads in Milton Keynes and Coventry from next year. Horiba Mira is one of 16 organisations collaborating in the UK Autodrive project and will provide controlled environment (proving ground) test facilities.

It is the first project in the UK to showcase the benefits of having cars that can communicate with each other across multiple makes of car. During Friday’s event, the car-makers jointly demonstrated two of the seven connected car features which they plan to trial during the three-year programme. This included showcasing how vehicles can warn their drivers if another connected vehicle ahead has braked severely, lowering the risk of rear-end collisions when the driver’s view is obscured. The second demonstration showed how connected cars can be sent information from traffic lights, allowing them to reduce the likelihood of meeting red lights – potentially improving future traffic flow and lowering emissions in urban areas.

Further UK Autodrive trials and demonstrations are scheduled to take place during the spring of next year, before moving out of Mira onto closed-off areas of Milton Keynes and Coventry in late 2017. The project will culminate in a series of public road trials and demonstrations to be held in both cities in 2018.

Chris Reeves, commercial manager for Future Transport Technologies and Intelligent Mobility at MIRA, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the trials and demonstrations today and to be a part of a consortium that will help position the UK as a global leader for the development of connected autonomous vehicle technologies.”

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