The United Kingdom is getting its first “connected corridor” for the testing of next-generation connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology, according to Jaguar Land Rover. The 41 miles of “living laboratory” roads around the city of Coventry and the town of Solihull, sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover, will help engineers evaluate new systems in real-world driving conditions. Stu Robarts, writing for Gizmag, said “It will help to make driving safer, to reduce journey times and to prevent traffic jams.”
Roadside Communications Technology
The three-year UK-CITE (U.K. Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) project will test a wide range of communication technologies that may share information at very high speeds, between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure (including traffic lights and overhead road signs) on public roads, which may prevent car accidents. It will cost £5.5m (nearly $8 million). The living lab roads will be equipped with new roadside communications technology that will make possible the testing of 100 connected and highly automated cars, among them, five Jaguar Land Rover research vehicles.
The technology includes local Wi-Fi hotspots, 4G/LTE, Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), and LTE-V (a more advanced version of LTE). Robarts noted that the new roadway will make it possible to test:
- How connected cars can communicate to make lane-changing and junction exiting safer and more efficient
- Ways that warning messages displayed above roads can be sent to car dashboards
- How drivers can receive in-car alerts when an emergency vehicle is approaching. According to Jaguar, a driver would receive a warning that an ambulance, fire engine, or police car was approaching long before flashing lights and sirens could be seen or heard.
Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology for Jaguar Land Rover, said that similar test roads exist elsewhere in Europe and this new one will allow the U.K. to compete globally. He added:
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. […] The connected and autonomous vehicle features we will be testing will improve road safety, enhance the driving experience, reduce the potential for traffic jams and improve traffic flow. These technologies will also help us meet the increasing customer demand for connected services whilst on the move.