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New 'connected corridor’ to aid driverless car push in UK

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The UK government has revealed support for eight projects geared towards development of autonomous vehicle technologies, including a scheme that’ll see a 41-mile stretch of road converted to a so-called ‘connected corridor.’

The £5.5m UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment environment will explorer the benefits of ‘taking car’ technologies in Coventry.

Backed by Jaguar Land Rover, the 41-mile ‘living laboratory’ will be used to “test and develop nex-gen connected and autonomous vehicle technologies,” according to the auto manufacturer.

A fleet of 100 connected and ‘highly automated cars’ will test a range of communications technologies (such as LGE, DSRC, LTE-V and local Wi-Fi hotspots), in order to connect cars with each other and with roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights and road signs.

See also: Revealed - What London's driverless cars will look like

The idea is to allow authorities to monitor traffic flow in order to provide driver or the autonomous car with guidance “to optimise the journey.”

In its press release Jaguar Land Rover said connected cars could “work together” in order to make land switching and taking motorway exits easier.

The research could result in a system where warning messages could be beamed directly to a car’s dashboard.

There also plans to introduce an 'Over the Horizon' warning systems for autonomous vehicles that would help autonomous cars react to hazards.

The initiative has received £3.41m from the government’s £100m Connected and Autonomous Vehicles fund.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: "This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover's research team and project partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions. Similar research corridors already exist in other parts of Europe so this test route is exactly the sort of innovation infrastructure the UK needs to compete globally.

"The connected and autonomous vehicle features we will be testing will improve road safety, enhance the driving experience, reduce the potential for traffic jams and improve traffic flow. These technologies will also help us meet the increasing customer demand for connected services whilst on the move."

The other projects to receive a share of the £20m in new funds being allocated include plans to create driverless shuttles, research into market readiness for driverless cars and real-time data analysis tools.

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