Nissan leads driverless car project for London

Nissan leads driverless car project for London

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

A project has launched in London to bring driverless cars to the UK capital using Nissan’s electric Leaf.

The ServCity project brings together Nissan, the Connected Places Catapult research institute, research lab TRL, Hitachi, SBD Automotive and the University of Nottingham to develop a blueprint for the rollout of autonomous vehicles in the UK

The project is jointly funded by government and industry, the government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility fund administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

It builds on the HumanDrive project that finished in February this year and looked at autonomous driving on country-side and motorway lanes, overcoming challenges such as roundabout and high speed country lanes with no marking, white lines, or kerbs.

This used a fully electric Nissan LEAF that took the UK’s longest and most complex autonomous drive from Cranfield to Sunderland. The data and learning from HumanDrive is being used in the ServCity project.

The new project will use a combination of test simulation, end-user experience research and real-world trials using the Leaf to accelerate the deployment of driverless cars in cities. 

“If society is to enjoy the benefits of self-driving vehicles, we need to ensure the technology can safely master a complex and lively modern city, with all its obstacles,” said Nadhim Zahawi Business and Industry Minister.  “This project, backed by Government funding, will not only help make autonomous vehicles more user friendly, but also give users confidence that they can respond quickly and safely and to all types of challenges they face on the roads.” 

“Our Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy strives to achieve a mobility future that is more electric, more autonomous and more connected and we look forward to working in collaboration with ServCity’s other partners to achieve this,” said Bob Bateman, project manager at Nissan. 

“Robotaxis have the potential to fundamentally transform mobility for both consumers and the cities they operate in. The user experience lies at the heart of that transformation, as operators will need to carefully balance customer expectations with real-world technological constraints,” said Andrew Hart, director of technology consultants SBD Automotive. It will helping define and test different approaches to delivering a seamless Robotaxi experience in London.

“Using the infrastructure and monitoring facilities at our Smart Mobility Living Lab in London, we are uniquely placed to analyse the performance and benefits of automated mobility services in a complex city environment,” said Lucien Linders, general manager from TRL.

Hitachi will provide the prediction and mapping capabilities.

“Our role in the ServCity project will include developing the technology behind predicting – and safely responding to – other moving objects such as pedestrians, cyclists and cars, as well as delivering accurate and robust localisation solutions,” said Nick Blake, Chief Innovation Strategist from Hitachi.  

The aim of the project over the next two years is to create a blueprint for how autonomous mobility services can roll out, for policymakers, budget holders, transport providers and technology providers  

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