University of Warwick: Researchers develop technology solutions to enhance the safety and efficiency of connected and autonomous vehicles in complex road junctions

Working in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, TRL and the University of Surrey, researchers from the Intelligent Vehicles directorate at WMG, University of Warwick have implemented a Proof of Concept demonstrator. This demonstrator focusses on unleashing the power of Edge and Cloud Computing, using a “connected roundabout” at the University of Warwick’s main campus.

The Cloud Assisted Real-time Methods for Autonomy (CARMA) project, is part of the £11m TASCC programme funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Jaguar Land Rover. Supported by WMG’s Centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the CARMA project was established with the intention to create secure and resilient cloud-based platforms to enable safe and robust semi-autonomous functions on future cars in the short term, and with the vision of achieving fully autonomous vehicles.

Professor Mehrdad Dianati, Head of Intelligent Vehicles Research at WMG, University of Warwick said: “We expect autonomous vehicles to be much safer, much more efficient and much more comfortable than human driven vehicles. Unfortunately, with existing sensor and computing technologies, it is difficult and expensive to achieve the level of accuracy and reliability of the perception of the environment that’s expected.”

“CARMA not only demonstrates how these concepts could be implemented in practice, but also highlights what the impact of such technologies might be. This research will help manufacturers, technology developers, policy makers and road operators to make informed decisions on how they will adopt technologies in future road infrastructure, regulations, products and services.”

CARMA researchers installed eight infrastructure cameras, as off-board sensors, at the roundabout to monitor the environment and stream video to a base station called ‘Edge’. Using two-way communication, the Edge processes its own live information with information received from nearby connected vehicles. This processed data containing object, traffic, road layout and lane availability information is broadcast and received by the vehicles.

Dr Graham Lee, Principal Engineer at WMG, University of Warwick, added: “At complex road junctions, the CARMA platform can help enable on-road autonomy by providing additional real time data about the environment through the use of off-board sensors and computing. This gives vehicles the ability to navigate complex road junctions safely and efficiently.”

Dr Saber Fallah, Director of the Connected Autonomous Research Lab at the University of Surrey commented: “This technology enables new business models for the transportation system in alignment with the rise of shared mobility. In addition, autonomous vehicle technology also highlights the potential for how elderly people or disabled people can benefit from the joy of driving from point A to point B safely.”

The testing infrastructure was supported by the Midlands Future Mobility project, Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles of the UK Government. The Open Innovation Platform research vehicle used within the project was developed with support from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and used alongside the CARMA research vehicle provided by JLR.

Over ten follow-on projects have been inspired by CARMA, as technological, regulatory and business challenges are to be overcome before the concept can be deployed on a mass scale. Through the project 23 early career scientists and engineers were trained and three patents were granted along with 40 publications on the work carried out.

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