A fleet of more than 100 connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will be trialled by Jaguar Land Rover on public roads over the next four years – including a system that is able to navigate through roadworks.
The Roadwork Assist system is able to recognise cones and barriers and assist drivers through roadworks.
Initial tests being carried out by Jaguar Land Rover will involve vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technologies that will allow cars to talk to each other and roadside signs, overhead gantries and traffic lights. Ultimately, data sharing between vehicles would allow future connected cars to co-operate and work together to assist the driver and make lane changing and crossing junctions easier and safer.
Tony Harper, head of research, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents. We will also improve the driving experience, with drivers able to choose how much support and assistance they need. In traffic, for example, the driver could choose autonomy assist during tedious or stressful parts of the journey.
“But even when an enthusiastic driver is fully focused on enjoying the thrill of the open road, the new technology we are creating will still be working in the background to help keep them safe. Because the intelligent car will always be alert and is never distracted, it could guide you through roadworks and prevent accidents. If you are a keen driver, imagine being able to receive a warning that there’s a hazard out of sight or around a blind bend. Whether it’s a badly parked car or an ambulance heading your way, you could slow down, pass the hazard without fuss and continue on your journey.”
Roadwork Assist uses a forward-facing stereo camera to generate a 3D view of the road ahead and together with advanced image processing software, it can recognise cones and barriers. The system will sense when the vehicle is approaching the start of the roadworks, identify an ideal path through complicated construction sites and contraflows, and inform the driver that the road is narrowing ahead. The system will then apply a small amount of steering assistance to the wheel to help the driver remain centred in lane.
See a video of Roadwork Assist technology in action below:
Harper added: “Driving through congested roadworks can be a stressful experience for many people – especially when the lanes narrow and switch to the other side of the road, or if road markings are faint, obscured or missing. To overcome this, our prototype system will guide the vehicle to the centre of the narrow lane, reducing driver workload and stress. With further research, in the future this system could enable the car to drive autonomously through roadworks.”