While fully self-driving cars are banned in public roads in the UK, the technology is being experimented with, with government trials underway. Legislation to approve full-autonomy could come into effect as early as 2025.
Supporting the readiness of the UK supply chain
To be delivered by a consortium of five industry partners - including Nissan as technical lead - the jointly funded autonomous research project know as evolvAD aims to enhance the UK’s autonomous driving capability and technically support the supply chain’s readiness for mass adoption.
The consortium will test connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) on a variety of urban residential and complex rural roads. Over the next 21 months, the evolvAD project will utilise the expertise of its five partners - Nissan, Connected Places Catapult, Humanising Autonomy, SBD Automotive, and TRL - to support the future deployment of AD technologies in the UK.
"We are extremely proud to be a part of the evolvAD project in the UK, working alongside some brilliant partners to test and trial our technology further,” said David Moss, Senior Vice President, Region Research & Development for Nissan AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania).
“Through Nissan Ambition 2030 we want to empower mobility for everyone, and autonomous drive technologies are critical to this effort as they offer huge benefits in terms of vehicle safety, environmental impact and accessibility. As we celebrate 35 years of NTCE in the UK, we're excited to get going with this next project that will help ensure we continue to deliver technology of the future that truly benefits our customers."
Plans for the project
Plans for the project include the use of existing infrastructure such as CCTV to receive information to improve situational awareness, as well as developing new V2I technologies to support the development of autonomous drive vehicles.
Nissan will also trail the technology on complex roads and explore the opportunities that autonomous mobility can provide to different types of roads.
The project began in July 2023, with the development phase already underway and using 100% electric Nissan LEAFs as the test vehicle. The vehicles will be tested both in simulation and on a test track before they are put onto live roads.
"To bring autonomous driving to market, we must test and trial the technology on as many different road types as possible and that's why projects like evolvAD are so important. Ultimately, we want to make driving cleaner, safer and more inclusive for everyone and we look forward to working with our consortium partners to deliver that,” said Robert Bateman, evolvAD Project Manager and Manager of Nissan's Research and Advanced Engineering team, Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE).
"Self-driving vehicles have the potential to transform how we get around, making journeys safer, cleaner and more accessible while also helping grow the economy by creating highly skilled jobs. This research project will help develop this technology and show that the UK is at the cutting edge in developing automated technology that is not only innovative but, crucially, has safety at its heart," added Minister for Industry and Economic Security, Nusrat Ghani.
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