UK Autodrive consortium has completed the last set of private test track demonstrations of autonomous vehicle technology and secured approval to bring the technology onto city streets.

At the HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, consortium partners Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) demonstrated connected car technologies that can be trialled on the roads of Milton Keynes and Coventry. 

Jaguar Land Rover also showcased the latest automated vehicle technology.

The three firms are taking part in the £20m UK Autodrive research and development project, which is funded by the government and industry partners. 

UK Autodrive is claimed to be the first project in the UK to showcase the advantages of connected cars.

Partners jointly demonstrated connected features of three cars out of seven cars that are being tested during the three-year programme. 

The first demonstration of emergency vehicle warning technology showcased cars with a warning system. It can warn drivers when an emergency vehicle is approaching. 

"UK Autodrive is claimed to be the first project in the UK to display the advantages of having cars that can communicate with each other across multiple vehicle makes."

The second demonstration was on intersection collision warning. This technology can detect the presence of other connected cars on approach to a junction, and warn if there is a chance of a collision.

The third demonstration was on in-vehicle signage. This technology enables cars to receive traffic information sent from road-side units, thereby ensuring drivers do not miss out on important notifications such as changes of speed limit or temporary lane closures. 

Jaguar Land Rover also demonstrated autonomous urban drive. An automated Range Rover Sport fitted with the prototype technology could navigate around an urban-style road network. The vehicle can negotiate roundabouts and junctions whilst steering around obstacles.

The consortium partners plan to demonstrate the benefits of the new technologies in real-world settings of Milton Keynes and Coventry.

The first set of public road trials is expected to take place in Milton Keynes and Coventry by the end of this year. Trials will be carried out initially on segregated sections of roads, before moving into open road trials and demonstrations as the project comes to its conclusion in mid-2018. 

As a separate aspect of the project, around 40 self-driving pavement-based ‘pod’ vehicles will also be introduced in pedestrianised sections of central Milton Keynes.