Nissan joins UK project to test autonomous vehicles and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology

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In an effort to evaluate the readiness of the UK’s infrastructure for autonomous vehicles and explore the potential of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology, Nissan has partnered with the UK government and several organizations in a project called evolvAD. This initiative aims to determine what is required in the supply chain to support the future deployment of Level 4 autonomous vehicles across the UK.

Key Points:

  1. Project Overview: The evolvAD project brings together Nissan, the UK government, Humanizing Autonomy, Connected Places Catapult, SBD Automotive, and TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) to conduct extensive testing of autonomous vehicle functions using Nissan’s Leaf hatchback electric vehicles (EVs).
  2. Testing Scenarios: The project will involve testing autonomous vehicle capabilities in various environments, including urban and rural areas. The goal is to assess both vehicle performance and supply chain readiness for autonomous vehicle deployment.
  3. V2I Integration: A distinctive feature of the evolvAD project is the incorporation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in residential areas. These cameras will enhance the situational awareness of autonomous vehicles by providing real-time data. This V2I component is expected to contribute to safer navigation in urban and rural settings.
  4. Infrastructure-Agnostic Approach: While many autonomous vehicle deployments in the US have adopted infrastructure-agnostic approaches, relying primarily on onboard sensors like cameras, radar, and lidar, the evolvAD project focuses on leveraging existing stationary cameras with object recognition software. These cameras are prevalent in the UK, and their integration presents a software challenge to enable Level 4 autonomous vehicles to effectively use the data.
  5. Challenging Environments: The project’s scope extends beyond urban and highway environments. It will specifically address the complexities of navigating built-up residential streets and narrow rural roads, where parked vehicles and tight spaces pose unique challenges to autonomous driving.
  6. UK’s Autonomous Vehicle Landscape: While the UK has seen limited trials of Level 4 autonomous vehicles, it has yet to witness a large-scale operational rollout of robotaxis, such as those launched in San Francisco.
  7. Job Impact: Acknowledging the potential of autonomous vehicles to transform transportation, the project’s stakeholders also recognize the impact on employment, as the technology may lead to the replacement of traditional driver jobs with new roles that require specialized skills.

The evolvAD project serves as a significant step toward evaluating the feasibility and readiness of the UK’s infrastructure for autonomous vehicles, with a focus on integrating V2I technology. It explores the potential benefits of leveraging existing CCTV cameras to enhance autonomous vehicle navigation and safety in diverse settings, further advancing the development of autonomous transportation solutions in the UK.