COVENTRY has been selected as one of the first venues to lead the way for futuristic new ‘driverless’ cars.
Alongside Bristol, Milton Keynes and Greenwich, the city was announced as a trial location for the state-of-the-art cars as part of a Government scheme to ‘keep the UK at the forefront of this innovative new technology.’
The ‘Introducing Driverless Cars’ initiative, which was anounced by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Transport Minister Claire Perry yesterday (Wednesday, February 11), will see engineering partners and private companies from across the country join together to form the UK Autodrive consortium.
The consortium – which includes representatives from Coventry City Council, Jaguar Land Rover and Warwick University-based Tata Motors European Technical Centre – will seek to develop the autonomous vehicle technology and integrate the vehicles into existing urban environment.
The Lutz Pathfinder Pod cars – which have been designed and created by Coventry-based RDM Group at its £400,000 advanced engineering centre in the heart of the city – will be initially tested on closed roads and pedestrianised areas of the city and will take to the streets later this year.
Electric powered, the vehicle can seat two people, will travel at a maximum speed of 15mph and boasts a range of 40 miles.
It uses sensor and navigation technology provided by the University of Oxford’s Mobile Robotics Group.
It is hoped the vehicles will eventually slash the number of accidents on the roads by eliminating driver error and the project has been welcomed by road safety groups across the board.
“We are thrilled to be part of such a groundbreaking project that has the potential to prove that driverless vehicles can be used safely and effectively on our pavements and roads.”said David Keene, chief executive officer at RDM Group.