Artificial intelligence to pilot HumanDrive autonomous car across UK

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Image: HumanDrive via AFP Relaxnews

Autonomous vehicles at all stages of development are currently being tested all over the globe, but it’s now becoming increasingly apparent that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a big part in making them a reality on our roads and in our showrooms in years to come.

Now an autonomous vehicle controlled by an artificial intelligence system is set to drive across the United Kingdom at the end of next year, emulating the driving style of a human as part of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi’s autonomous research program.

HumanDrive is the name of the project, and it will see the AI system being responsible for everything, which means steering, braking, speed, road position, decision-making and the perception of conditions and features needed to pilot the vehicle fully. However, before the project gets to that point, private testing will be carried out first on a test track and on public roads. But this will be done in much smaller sections than the eventual cross-country test scheduled for 2019.

There will still be a safety driver in the vehicle during the trip across the U.K., who will be prepared to take over in the event of an emergency during the testing. Although the technology should make its way into production vehicles by the mid-2020s, the cross-country test will only be happening after as much as 30 months of intense research and development. The final time frame, location and length of the test will not be decided until the 30 months of R&D is completed.

The HumanDrive project has so far received input from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, Cranfield University, University of Leeds, Highways England, Horiba Mira, SBD Automotive, Atkins and Aimsun.

Chief technology officer Mark Westwood, from the U.K. automotive innovation center, Transport Systems Catapult, explained, “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.”

He went on to add, “The HumanDrive project further reinforces the U.K.’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.” JB

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