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WATCH: Jaguar Land Rover's self-driving cars take to the streets of the West Midlands

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

The UK's first on-the-road trials for self-driving cars in a city are taking place in the West Midlands as Jaguar Land Rover puts its experimental autonomous vehicles through their paces.

As well as self-driving the cars are connected by communications technology so they can 'talk' to each other and to roadside systems such as traffic lights.

The real-world testing is now taking place on the streets of Coventry, near JLR's Whitley headquarters, as part of the £20 million UK Autodrive project. It is one of just 12 cities around the world conducting such tests.

Initially the cars will run on closed off sections of road before open road trials and demonstrations in both Coventry and Milton Keynes next year.

Jaguar Land Rover test self-driving vehicles on public road

Nick Rogers, JLR's executive director for product engineering, said: “Testing this self-driving project on public roads is so exciting, as the complexity of the environment allows us to find robust ways to increase road safety in the future.

"By using inputs from multiple sensors, and finding intelligent ways to process this data, we are gaining accurate technical insight to pioneer the automotive application of these technologies.

"Jaguar Land Rover is proud to be a leader in collaborative research projects for autonomous and connected cars.

"We are supporting innovative research that will be integral to the infrastructure, technology and legal landscape needed to make intelligent, self-driving vehicles a reality within the next decade.”

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The trials in Coventry will discover how future connected and autonomous vehicles can replicate human behaviour and reactions when driving.

Jaguar Land Rover is developing both fully and semi-autonomous vehicle technologies so that in the future its cars will enable owners to drive themselves or allow the car to either assist or take over complete control, both on and off the road, no matter the weather.

JLR is part of UK Autodrive, the largest of three consortia launched to support the introduction of self-driving vehicles into the UK.

It has already proven its research technology can work on a closed track and the real-world testing is the next step in turning the research into reality. The on-the-road testing is expected to continue into next year.

The hope is that Autodrive will help make the UK a global centre for the research and development into automated and connected vehicles, and into making them a part of daily life.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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