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A British-based research project has successfully completed a 370km self-navigated journey on U.K. roads with the Nissan Leaf.

08 Feb 2020 | International News : U.K.


A British-based research project into the latest autonomous vehicle technologies has successfully completed a 370km self-navigated journey on U.K. roads with the Nissan Leaf.

The 370km drive saw the Nissan Leafs driving autonomously through country roads as well as motorways
The project, HumanDrive, is jointly funded by U.K. government through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and Innovate U.K., and nine other consortium partners. The joint funding package for the project totalled $2.42 million.

The research project has successfully completed two trials. The first being a 370km self-navigated journey on U.K. roads titled 'Grand Drive' using advanced positioning technology, while the second was a test track based activity which explored human-like driving using machine learning to enhance the user experience of automated vehicles.

The 'Grand Drive' from Cranfield, Bedfordshire, to Sunderland was the culmination of 30 months of work by the HumanDrive consortium - a team led by Nissan engineers in the U.K., working in partnership with consortium members.

A suite of systems from GPS to radar, Light Detection and Ranging as well as camera systems allowed the cars to perceive the world around them
The 370km journey saw the lessons learned at research being put into practice in a range of driving scenarios from negotiating country lanes with no or minimal road markings, to driving through junctions and on roundabouts and motorways.

The autonomous technology activated along the route to change lanes, merge and stop and start when necessary.

The test vehicles included Nissan Leafs which featured GPS, radar, Light Detection and Ranging as well as camera technologies to build up a perception of the world around them.

Using that perceived world, the system can make decisions about how to navigate roads and obstacles it encounters on a journey.


The second part of the HumanDrive project looked at how machine-learning artificial intelligence technologies could enhance the user experience and passenger comfort of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Pilot vehicles were tested successfully on private tracks which incorporated artificial intelligence systems developed by fellow consortium member Hitachi Europe Ltd, enabling real-time machine-learning. By building a dataset of previously encountered traffic scenarios and solutions, the artificial intelligence systems can use this 'learned experience' to handle similar scenarios in the future and plot a safe route around an obstacle.
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