Ford and India’s Tata Motors, parent of Jaguar Land Rover, are testing cars in Britain that can “talk” to one another, drive themselves, skip red lights and even help locate a parking space.
The system, named Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory, has been engineered to minimize emissions and maximize fuel efficiency.
Both auto manufacturers are taking part in the $24 million UK Autodrive research and development project, which will test connected and driverless technology over the course of three years.
“The benefits of having cars that can communicate with each other and their surroundings could be very significant — from increased road safety to improved traffic flow,” said Tim Armitage, a project director at government-backed Autodrive, which coordinated the trials at a testing ground in central England.
Over the course of the project, a number of features will be tested, such as safety features which sense when the driver in front slams on the brakes, even when the brake lights are obscured by another vehicle or inclement weather.
The Intersection Movement Assist will warn drivers when it is unsafe to enter an intersection, due to a high probability of collision with other vehicles.
Perhaps the greatest benefit to city drivers will be the vehicle’s ability to provide real time information on parking, telling drivers where they can find a free spot before they get there.
Land Rover demonstrated Advanced Highway Assist, a feature which enabled the SUV to overtake slower moving vehicles automatically, as well as detecting any vehicles in the driver’s blind spot.
Jaguar said earlier this year that it plans to create a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles over the next four years to test autonomous and connected technology.
Ford and Volvo are both working with ride-hailing company Uber on trials of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Pa.