A three-year project into the trials of connected and autonomous vehicle technology has drawn to a close, with Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) revealing its commitment to shaping the future of mobility.
As the UK centre of excellence in design and engineering for the Tata Motors passenger car business in India, the Coventry-based, TMETC plans to focus its learning and future developments on controlled road environments.
The UK Autodrive project, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has brought together 15 partners including OEMs, cutting edge engineering businesses, academia and progressive councils to explore the impact of ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared) technology, in a safe and controlled setting.
David Hudson, Head of Propulsion at TMETC, said: “This has been a challenging project but has enabled us to safely test our technologies on public roads in a real-world environment.
“Our primary market is in India whose mobility requirements are different to the UK.
“Road congestion, air pollution and road safety, though important in the UK, are acute concerns in India. The country is likely to embrace connected, electric and shared technology sooner than its counterparts and therefore it is essential we remain at the forefront of these developments.
“Autonomy will be a consideration for the future in India and as the UK has already published a code of practice for testing autonomous vehicles safely and legally, it provides the ideal platform to enable us to challenge our self-driving vehicle capabilities.”
The Hexa SUV, launched in the Indian market in 2017, was the vehicle used in the project. Its spacious interior provided ample room to accommodate the necessary driving hardware, visitors and engineers in comfort.
David added: “Our connectivity vehicle experience has enabled us to safely test and demonstrate numerous features including GLOSA (Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory) and EEBL (Electronic Emergency Brake Light). It has also demonstrated how vehicles and infrastructure will work in tandem for a motoring network in the future.
“The autonomy element has been most challenging and rewarding with the consideration of real-time locations, route planning and obstacle avoidance decision making. However, it is often the unpredictable behaviour of other road users and pedestrians that has added to the challenge.
“Although the autonomous systems are technically capable of SAE Level 4 automation for the trials we used safety drivers so we were actually running at SAE Level 3.
“We are pleased by the end of this project we have achieved an appropriate level of self-driving capability to allow us to move forward with our next steps in the mobility revolution.”