WMG aims to make technology work for real cars with real people in real time
The concept of autonomous or "driverless" vehicles promises many benefits for future transport but also brings significant challenges. We have started to see the first steps towards autonomy in the market with product features such as automatic parking and emergency braking systems, as well as many automotive OEMs producing working prototypes of fully autonomous vehicles. However, there are considerable challenges to be overcome before fully autonomous vehicles move from concept to commercialisation - this includes:
- The legal and ethical framework
- Technical solutions which are affordable and dependable
- Customer acceptance and understanding of the technology
A critical success factor will be improving public confidence in the safety, cyber security and robustness of autonomous vehicles. WMG research aims to understand and inform this trust in autonomous control and intelligent features.
WMG takes a multi-disciplinary approach to autonomous vehicles in order to understand the full research and practical implications. Our related research capabilities include:
- Energy and Electrical Systems: Complex Electrical Systems / Software - e.g. technology testing and development
- Experiential Engineering: Human factors, how users interact with and react to new vehicle / road environments
- Cyber Security: Security of vehicles connected to the internet, other vehicles and their environment
- Supply Chains and Service Systems: New business opportunities afforded by autonomous technologies
- Driver / Health Monitoring: Direct sensing and monitoring technology, driver behaviour / health state
WMG's work in Intelligent Vehicles forms a key part of our WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult programme.
Drive-in Automotive Simulator
WMG research in autonomous vehicles will be underpinned by a key facility - the drive-in, driver-in-the-loop multi-axis simulator.
The EPSRC-funded simulator will be one of the world's most adaptable and advanced driving simulators. It will provide an environment where rigorous, repeatable scientific evaluations can be conducted for autonomous, smart and connected vehicles.
One of the key issues to consider in the development of connected vehicles will be the highly complex and demanding signal environment they will be required to operate within - this could include GPS, 3G/4G/5G, WLAN, DAB, V2X, etc. The simulator will have a world leading capability to fully emulate this external environment that the vehicle would encounter on road for repeatable testing and verification. This will enable:
- Assessment of human interaction with future connected technologies including distraction, optimal usability and task performance
- Development of autonomous vehicles and features - self-learning car / intelligent features
- Verification, robustness and safety simulation and modelling techniques
WMG is working on a number of projects within the area of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles which are contributing to the understanding of the subject of the technologies and their gradual adoption.