Loughborough University, one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research, is teaming up with Highways England on a new £1m project to ensure the country’s motorways can accommodate self-driving vehicles.
Project CAVIAR (Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Infrastructure Appraisal Readiness) is being carried out in partnership with construction company Galliford Try and will look at line markings, roadworks and junctions to understand the challenges that will be faced by connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
Mohammed Quddus, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems and principal investigator on the project said: “To date there is significant investment and advancement in Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.
“It is, however, not known whether existing road infrastructure, which was designed for conventional vehicles, is ready for the safe and efficient operations of CAVs. CAVIAR directly addresses this challenge.
“Although CAVs are designed with existing infrastructure in mind, ensuring they are safe to operate on motorways will require evaluating how road layouts affects their operational boundaries such as their ability to sense lanes and make appropriate decisions.”
Researchers will look at whether CAVs can safely navigate the existing configurations around construction zones, whether they can successfully detect lane markings in low lighting or poor weather conditions, and whether they are able to safely merge between the low-speed local road networks and the high-speed motorway network.
Professor Quddus said: “Our vision is to deliver a world-leading experimental and simulated platform for assessing motorway infrastructure readiness level for CAV operations underpinned by the sciences of AI, statistics, optimisation and verification.
Jon de Souza, of Galliford Try, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Loughborough University on the CAVIAR project which will significantly further our understanding of the implications for highway infrastructure on a future increase in the quantity of connected and autonomous vehicles on the Strategic Road Network.
John Mathewson, Senior ITS Advisor, Highways England, said: “Our fund is all about stimulating innovation and supporting research and trials to ensure the UK remains ready to adopt cutting edge technology.
“This research will build on our understanding and give us further insight into how connected and autonomous vehicles would operate on England’s motorways and major A roads and what challenges they may face.
“It is a great example of partnership working between academia and industry. The results could help us shape how we invest in future road design and maintenance.”
Follow this link for more details and the full press release from Loughborough University.