An Autonomous Vehicle Project Sets Its Sights On a 200-Mile Test Drive in 2019
GO THE EXTRA MILE
Designing a self-driving car that can travel short distances is already an achievement in itself, but a new initiative aims to really put self-driving technology to the test in a long distance journey in the United Kingdom (UK). The HumanDrive Initiative, as it’s somewhat ironically called, plans to deploy an autonomous vehicle next year for a self-driven test drive of 320 kilometers (200 miles).
This initiative is a collaborative effort between Transport System Catapult, Groupe Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, Cranfield University, Highways England, and several other universities and companies.
Transport Systems Catapult, which oversaw one of the first driverless car tests in the UK in 2016, explains that the ultimate goal of the 30-month long project is to deploy a car capable of handling various driving scenarios that are largely unique to the UK, including country roads, high speed roundabouts, and A-Roads. Ideally, it will also do well in live traffic and in different weather conditions, all while mimicking a “natural human driving style” that allows passengers to have a pleasant experience.
Before the HumanDrive project begins its self-driven test drive in December 2019, however, BBC News reports that its AI system needs to be developed and thoroughly tested. Testing will be conducted in simulated environments, private test tracks, and small sections of public roads.
“Low carbon and self-driving vehicles are the future and they are going to drive forward a global revolution in mobility,” said Greg Clark, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in a press release. “Trailblazing projects like the HumanDrive project will play a vital role helping us deliver on that ambition.”