New project to help cities crack AV challenge


A new research project aims to help cities harness the latest autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies and incorporate them into a complex urban environment.

ServCity is jointly funded by government and industry. Over 30 months, five partners – Nissan, the Connected Places Catapult, TRL, Hitachi and the University of Nottingham – will work to develop a blueprint that directly tackles the barriers to deploying AVs in the UK’s cities.


It will work through a combination of test simulation, end-user experience research and real-world trials, concentrating on the three key areas – technology, people and scalability – and aims to ensure the user experience is as intuitive, inclusive and engaging as possible.

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘If society is to enjoy the benefits of self-driving vehicles, we need to ensure the technology can safely master a complex and lively modern city, with all its obstacles.

‘This project will not only help make autonomous vehicles more user friendly, but also give users confidence that they can respond quickly and safely and to all types of challenges they face on the roads.’

Project manager Bob Bateman from Nissan said: ‘Our Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy strives to achieve a mobility future that is more electric, more autonomous and more connected and we look forward to working in collaboration with ServCity’s other partners to achieve this.’

ServCity said it would leverage the experience and expertise acquired through the HumanDrive project which trialled AVs on countryside roads and motorways, ‘overcoming challenges such as roundabout and high speed country lanes with no marking, white lines, or kerbs’.

HumanDrive came to an end in February, with Grand Drive, a 230-mile self-navigated journey using an all-electric Nissan LEAF from Cranfield to Sunderland. The project originally hoped to complete the journey ‘before the end of 2019'.

ServCity said data and learning gathered during HumanDrive ‘represents a tremendous help in the completion of the new venture’.

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