New Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar and Land Rover is investing in a 41 mile 'living laboratory' project on UK roads in a bid to develop new Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technologies.

A test corridor for CAV will be used to evaluate new systems in real-world driving conditions, taking place on roads around Coventry and Solihull.

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The 'UK-CITE' (UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) project will cost around £5.5m, with the money going towards new roadside communications equipment that will be installed during the three year project to enable the testing of a fleet of up to 100 connected and highly automated cars, including five Jaguar Land Rover research vehicles.

A range of different communication technologies will be tested by this fleet, including features that could share information at very high speeds between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure, including traffic lights and overhead gantries.

The government's support for the project has been announced by Secretary of State for Business, Rt Jon Sajid Javid MP, and a £3.41m grant from the UK's innovation agency will be provided as part of government's Connected and Autonomous Vehicles fund.

Jaguar Land Rover say that connected technologies are key enablers for future Intelligent Transport Systems, and suggest that these would help traffic authorities monitor and manage traffic flow by capturing data from all connected vehicles and then provide the driver or autonomous car with guidance to optimise the journey.

Connected cars could co-operate and work together, say Jaguar Land Rover, in a mission to make lane changing and exiting from junctions more efficient and safer. They say that technologies like Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) would enable vehicles to autonomously follow each other in close formation, making driving safer and ensuring road space is used more efficiently.

The manufacturers also predict that in the future, warning messages that are currently flashed onto an overhead gantry above a road could be sent direct to the dashboard - and repeated if necessary.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: "This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover's research team and project partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions.

"Similar research corridors already exist in other parts of Europe so this test route is exactly the sort of innovation infrastructure the UK needs to compete globally."

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When the project begins, the Jaguar Land Rover research team will be real-world testing a range of 'Over the Horizon' warning systems. As well as warning drivers, these would inform future autonomous vehicles, helping them react and respond to hazards and changing traffic conditions automatically.

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