An initiative is underway to test self-driving technology across 200-miles (320 km) of country roads.

The 30-month, project co-funded by the UK government and industry, called the HumanDrive initiative, is a collaboration between Groupe Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, the University of Leeds, a consortium of partners, and Transport Systems Catapult, the country’s first operator of a driverless trial in 2016.

The project’s goal is to test the mettle of self-driven tech against various driving scenarios specific to UK topography. These will include winding roads, congested hubs, A-roads, and roundabouts, with an emphasis on helping the self-driving technology mimic a human-like driving style and refine HumanDrive’s artificial driver model.

“This pioneering project will considerably enhance the experience of drivers who use future autonomous vehicles,” said Mark Westwood, Transport Systems Catapult chief technology officer, “The HumanDrive project further reinforces the UK’s commitment to be at the forefront of future mobility, and as a world leader in R&D.”

Others have also cited the potential of autonomous vehicles and other mobility solutions as vital in an improving economy.

“Low carbon and self-driving vehicles are the future and they are going to drive forward a global revolution in mobility,” said Greg Clark, business and energy secretary. “This revolution has the potential to be worth £52bn to our economy by 2035 and the opportunity to be at the forefront of this change is one we cannot afford to miss.”

Before the project’s start in December 2019, a series of testing will take place using simulated environments, private test tracks, and other demanding conditions.

Apart from industry funding, UK government monies are derived form the £100m Intelligent Mobility fund project to prepare the country for full adoption of self-driving vehicles by 2021.

Catapult.org