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University to lead way in creation of driverless vehicles.

Byline: Ben Hurst Head of News ben.hurst@trinitymirror.com

THE University of Birmingham is set to lead the development of driverless cars along with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) after winning key funding.

JLR has announced an PS11 million funding programme along with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The University of Birmingham will now lead the study following an announcement by Secretary of State for Business Sajid Javid during a visit to JLR's facility at Gaydon, Warwickshire.

The project is aiming to develop fully autonomous cars after the EPSRC asked for research proposals.

Dr Marina Gashinova, from the University of Birmingham, will lead a study that will look into how an autonomous car performs in bad weather.

It will also look at sensing systems that can provide driver assistance and allow truly autonomous vehicle operation.

Dr Gashinova said: "Current experimental autonomous vehicles come laden with sensors including short and long range radar, LiDAR and mono/stereo video cameras.

"Although there have been some very impressive examples of autonomous or near-autonomous operation using a combination of a-priori maps and data from these sensor suites, the environments in which they operate are highly constrained and full autonomy is not achievable in the short term.

"True full autonomy and improved driver assistance need a sensor suite which can provide rich information to enable automatic optimisation of the vehicle for travel over any terrain in all weathers."

The University of Birmingham, which has expertise in automotive radar research and radar technologies, is to work with the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University which will bring together knowledge of signal processing, radar imaging, video analytics, LiDAR and accelerated algorithms.

Mr Javid said: "The UK Government has no intention of being a passenger in innovation so is pioneering autonomous car technology in partnership with industry.

"This PS11 million research and development programme and the winning projects are a perfect example of this and will help to keep us at the forefront of the robotics revolution."

Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology at Jaguar Land Rover, added: "To realise the future potential for fully autonomous vehicles, we need to give drivers, pedestrians and other road users the confidence that a car driving around with little or no human input is a safe, viable and rewarding experience.

"These collaborative projects will bring some of the UK's leading academics together with our autonomous driving team to address the fundamental real-world challenges that are part of our journey towards autonomous driving."

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's chief executive, said: "Science and engineering research is vital to technological innovation and to keeping UK businesses at the forefront of global markets."

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 15, 2015
Words:457
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