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Artificial Intelligence to Pilot Autonomous Car Across the U.K.

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【Summary】An autonomous vehicle, piloted by artificial intelligence (AI), will drive across the U.K. emulating the style of a human driver at the end of next year as part of a driverless car development program by a consortium of technology partners.

Eric Walz    Feb 01, 2018 11:05 AM PT
Artificial Intelligence to Pilot Autonomous Car Across the U.K.
author: Eric Walz   

An autonomous vehicle, piloted by artificial intelligence (AI), will drive across the U.K. emulating the style of a human driver at the end of next year as part of a driverless car development program by a consortium of technology partners.

The project, called HumanDrive, will send the car across the UK with AI taking control of the steering, braking, speed, road position and decision-making, as well as perception of conditions and features required to fully pilot the car. Before this, however, private testing will take place on test tracks and on public roads in a smaller rollout.

The HumanDrive project emulates human driving characteristics. It is the latest development in Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi autonomous research program. The HumanDrive consortium has recently won a grant, awarded by Innovate UK, under the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV2) program.

The objective of this innovative project is to build an autonomous vehicle with human-like, natural control and path planning, by 2020. It will be fully autonomous and capable of completing a lengthy end-to-end journey in a variety of settings, including rural roads and highways.

A safety driver, who will intervene in case of emergency, will be in the driver's seat during the journey. The drive will take place after 30 months of research and development, although the timeframe, location and length of the full test will be determined after this period. The technology, meanwhile, should make it into production vehicles by the mid-2020s.

Many people have concerns over the safety of autonomous vehicles with no driver. A human driving style aims to give the public confidence in the car's abilities. The more human-like the driving style – to the point where the car will be indistinguishable from one driven by a human – the more comfortable the passengers and other road users are expected to be.

HumanDrive has input from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, Cranfield University, University of Leeds, Highways England, and others.

Mark Westwood, chief technology officer at UK automotive innovation center, Transport Systems Catapult, said "This pioneering project will considerably enhance the experience of drivers who use future autonomous vehicles. We've only just scratched the surface in terms of the capability of machine learning and AI in driving.

"The HumanDrive project further reinforces the UK's commitment to be at the forefront of future mobility and as a world leader in R&D. We are delighted to be working with world-class partners on this project to ensure autonomous vehicle technology provides users with the utmost comfort and control possible."

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