Transport Minister visits WMG to launch Call for Evidence on the Future of Mobility and announce 6 research projects on autonomous vehicles

Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport, visited WMG today (Monday 30th July 2018) to launch the Government’s “Call for Evidence on the Future of Mobility”. He announced six Innovate UK funded autonomous vehicle research projects, saying:

“We are beginning to experience profound change in how we move people, goods and services around the UK’s cities, towns and countryside. The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge – part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy – aims to capitalise on the opportunities presented by these changes to help reduce emissions, improve safety and wellbeing and place the UK at the forefront of global transport innovation. The Call for Evidence will help inform this programme, and seeks views from a range of audiences right across the country.”

Two of the six research projects he announced involve WMG, at the University of Warwick, with a total of £4.1m in research funding from Innovate UK. Those projects are:

OmniCAV – a £2.7m Innovate UK funded project where WMG will work with the company leading the project, Latent Logic, and nine other partners. OmniCAV will use highly detailed road maps, together with a powerful combination of traffic management, accident and CCTV data, to create a high-fidelity simulation environment, including AI-trained simulated road users to test autonomous vehicles.

The simulator technology will offer market-leading coverage of a diverse range of road networks including rural roads, peri-urban and urban roads. OmniCAV will lay the Jesse Norman MP experiences WMGs 3xD simulator for intelligent vehiclesfoundations for the development of a comprehensive, robust and secure simulator, aimed at providing a certification tool for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) that can be used by regulatory and accreditation bodies, insurers and manufacturers to accelerate the safe development of CAVs.

WMG will be leading the scenario creation work package, developing simulation scenarios for an open-access scenario library. WMG will also be contributing to the validation of the simulation results with real-world results on the project. In addition, through representation on international standard committees, WMG will ensure the project results influence or lead to creation of new international standards in order to ensure safe deployment and certification of CAVs.

Kirsty Lloyd-Jukes, CEO of Latent Logic, said “OmniCAV’s vision is ‘CAVs for All’: bringing safer, smarter, self-driving mobility for urban and rural areas. But first we need to know that driverless cars really can handle our challenging road conditions, on country lanes as much as crowded city streets. Virtual reality “driving tests” are the only way of doing this, which is why we’ve brought together these 11 leading organisations to build a world-first, A.I.-based simulation of real Oxfordshire roads to securely and reliably test autonomous car safety.”

Professor Paul Jennings, Head of Intelligent Vehicles at WMG and WMG’s Principal Investigator on the OmniCAV project adds:

“At WMG we have long believed that simulation will play a key role in testing and certification of CAVs. Our 3xD simulator provides a platform with which to bridge the virtual world and real world and since its commissioning in 2016 has played a vital role in our research strategy. Scenario identification and virtual validation are still major challenges for the CAV industry. In OmniCAV, we have a diverse and capable set of partners to advance the current state of knowledge, enabling the safe deployment of CAVs to provide benefits for us all”

The partners in the project are Latent Logic (lead), Aimsun, Arcadis LLP, Arrival, Admiral, Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), Ordnance Survey (OS), RACE, Thatcham, WMG, at the University of Warwick, and XPI.

Sim4SafeCAV – a £1.4m Innovate UK funded project where WMG will work with Jaguar Land Rover and rFpro to significantly enhance safety analysis and use simulation to demonstrate meeting of safety targets for SAE level 4 autonomous vehicles.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Senior Manager, Jaguar Land Rover said:

“Over the past 3 years Jaguar Land Rover have been very fortunate to have worked across multiple CCAV funded projects; successfully propelling the UK to the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle research worldwide. Collaborating with academic and industrial partners has allowed us to significantly improve understanding in this complex technology area and create discussion about autonomous and connected technology. We are confident that these new projects will continue this trend, helping us to deliver the most sophisticated and advanced self-driving technology to our customers in the near future.”

WMG Professor Mehrdad Dianati is the lead on the project from WMG said:

“Autonomous car technology is developing rapidly. Autonomous Cars manufacturers will need to provide clear evidence that their vehicles will operate safely across the full range of situations to be encountered on the streets. This is particularly the case for level 4 automation (where all driving tasks must be performed by the automated system, with no driver backup, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers).”

“In order to demonstrate that evidence manufactures will have to drive a huge number of miles to provide evidence of safety (e.g. Rand Corporation claims it could be 12.5 years of driving). That will not meet the government or publics aspirations for how quickly these vehicles can become available so academic and industry research partnerships such as Sim4SafeCAV with its modelling and simulation based testing will be play a crucial role in accelerating the development, testing and introduction of L4 vehicles.”

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