Smart Transport

UK autonomous vehicle trial demonstrates safe transfer of driving modes

A new Government funded trial has demonstrated the technologies to transfer the control of vehicles operating on the public highways in Oxford and London across different autonomous modes.

The Innovate UK and Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) project took place across public highways in Oxford and London and included the transfer from manual driving to an autonomous self-driving state and then to a tele-operated control by a remote driver from a control centre.

The self-driving vehicles and remote teleoperations were managed by StreetDrone, a developer of technologies that deliver efficiencies in supply chain logistics in order to illustrate how automation can be progressively introduced into industrial contexts.

This ‘autonomy + teleoperations’ approach enables more complex tasks to be managed by remote teleoperations drivers while autonomous systems can manage vehicle operations in more straightforward contexts.

Project ENCODE is part of StreetDrone’s portfolio of trials of technologies focused on delivering efficiencies to the supply chain that includes the automated and teleoperated management of HGV deliveries at Nissan Sunderland (5G CAL).

Central to ENCODE is the safe transfer of control across the multiple driving states by virtue of the cybersecurity of the operating systems. 

This element of the project was managed by ANGOKA, an IoT security company and StreetDrone partner focused on protecting machine-to-machine connectivity for transport and smart city applications.

Coventry University’s Systems Security Group, part of the Centre for Future Transport and Cities (CFTC), led on the threat and risk assessment for the underpinning technology.

The live trials on public roads was enabled by Oxfordshire County Council and TRL & the Smart Mobility Living Lab with the live vehicle tests taking place in Oxford and the Royal Arsenal in London.

Mike Potts, StreetDrone chief executive, said: “The success of this trial conducted not in a controlled environment but out on the public highway, is blending autonomous technologies with teleoperation to prove an advanced level of technology readiness that can now deliver much-needed efficiencies into the supply chain.

"Where tasks are too complex for autonomous technologies, teleoperations steps in. This integration provides a ‘ready-now’ solution and it has been a sight to behold to see it in operation.”

Dr Giedre Sabaliauskaite, Associate Professor at CFTC, said that to gain public acceptance and trust for autonomous systems, it is important security assurance processes are addressed through the design and engineering cycle.

She added: "The demonstration done through the ENCODE project offers an opportunity for the consortium to establish a rigorous assurance cycle, ultimately for wider sectoral and public acceptance.”

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