Self-driven vehicle completes the longest autonomous journey on UK roads
A self-driven car has completed a 230-mile self-navigated journey across the UK, making it the longest and most complex autonomous journey on UK roads.
The Nissan LEAF car drove unassisted from Cranfield, Bedfordshire, to the Nissan factory in Sunderland on a number of roads, including motorways, complex roundabouts and high-speed country lanes with no road markings, white lines or kerbs.
The journey was 30-months in the making and the autonomous technology meant the car was able to change lanes, merge and stop and start when necessary.
Two engineers were on board the car to monitor the vehicle’s actions at all times.
It even stopped at several service stations to recharge its batteries.
The Nissan LEAF used GPS, radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and camera technologies that build up a perception of the world around it.
The system can make decisions about how to navigate roads and obstacles it encounters on a journey.
The £13.5 million project – HumanDrive – was jointly funded by the UK government through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK, plus nine other consortium partners.
Bob Bateman, Project Manager for Nissan Technical Centre, Europe, said: “The HumanDrive project allowed us to develop an autonomous vehicle that can tackle challenges encountered on UK roads that are unique to this part of the world, such as complex roundabouts and high-speed country lanes with no road markings, white lines or kerbs.”
The 230-mile journey – dubbed the “Grand Drive” – was set up to investigate how autonomous driving can emulate a natural, human-like driving style.
Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi said: “Safely completing the longest autonomous drive in Britain is an incredible achievement for Nissan and the HumanDrive consortium, and a huge step towards the rollout of driverless cars on UK streets.
“This project is a shining example of how the automotive industry, working with government, can drive forward technology to benefit people’s mobility – while helping to slash carbon emissions.”