TRL taking part in £11m autonomous vehicle research programme

TRL, the Transport Research Laboratory, has announced it is part of a new £11m research programme to develop fully autonomous cars.

The programme, jointly funded by Jaguar Land Rover and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will look at some key technologies and questions that need to be addressed before driverless cars can be allowed on the roads without jeopardising the safety of other road users, including cyclists and pedestrians.

TRL is the only non-university research institute involved in the programme and will work alongside the University of Surrey, Warwick University and Imperial College London on a project to understand how distributed control systems and cloud computing can be integrated with vehicles. The project, which will be led by Dr Mehrdad Dianati from the University of Surrey, aims to design and validate a novel, Secure Cloud-based Distributed Control (SCDC) framework for connected and autonomous cars.

Alan Stevens, chief scientist at TRL commented: “The project will explore how increasingly automated and connected vehicles can operate safely and securely when connected to each other and, via the road infrastructure, to cloud-based resources. Ultimately the aim is to develop a secure framework that will enable the implementation of safe and robust semi-autonomous functions on future cars in the short term, and fully autonomous cars in the long term.”

The project win adds to a growing portfolio of innovative research projects for TRL in the field of connected and autonomous vehicles. Notable projects include the GATEway project, one of three UK projects to test ‘driverless’ vehicles in UK urban locations; Sentience, the testing of partial automation on UK roads; ADAPTATION, simulator research into behaviour of “non-equipped” drivers when driving in mixed and automated traffic and a heavy vehicle platooning study for the Department for Transport. Other projects include research into the business case for automated vehicles, implications for highways authorities and cyber security of automated vehicles.

The new research programme was announced on 9 October by secretary of state for business Sajid Javid during a visit to Jaguar Land Rover’s facility at Gaydon in Warwickshire. It will take place over a five-year period and consist of five separate projects involving TRL and 10 UK universities.

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