Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), the wholly-owned UK-based subsidiary of Tata Motors, is part of UK govt-backed initiative to develop autonomous car technologies. Christened UK Autodrive, the initiative has started the trial of new technologies on public roads in Coventry as announced back in October 2016.
Tata Motors was previously using the Tiago hatchback as a test car in closed testing areas. However, the car in charge of a public trial is the Hexa SUV. Project partners Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) have begun to collaboratively trial a number of connected car features in the city, with Jaguar Land Rover and TMETC also separately trialling their autonomous vehicle research technologies. Ford Mondeo and the Range Rover Sport are also part of the project.
Reports say that the three companies are predominantly working on three different autonomous technologies. The testing performed on Hexa is reportedly called GLOSA (Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory). Through this technology, the car is connected to the traffic light system. It has been designed to reduce waiting times, as well as minimise emissions caused by the engine functions associated with stopping at a red light and maximise fuel efficiency.
Emergency Vehicle Warnings, Intersection Collision Warning, In-Vehicle Signage and Electronic Emergency Brake Light are among the technologies being trialled. Though the trials are being used to develop self-driving vehicle technology in a real-world setting, there are highly trained test operators supervising the cars at all times.
UK Autodrive has confirmed that further trials are scheduled to take place in Coventry and Milton Keynes early next year followed by a final series of open road demonstration events in both cities during the second half of 2018.
"The fundamental purpose of UK Autodrive is to get connected and autonomous vehicle technology out onto UK roads, so the start of trialling on the streets of Coventry is clearly a major landmark both for the project and for the UK as a whole," said Tim Armitage, Arup's UK Autodrive project director.