THE arrival of fully automated cars on our roads has taken another step forward with the arrival of simulated testing on public highways.
The project sees a link up between simulation software specialist rFpro and WMG at the University of Warwick.
rFpro has created a highly accurate digital-twin of sections of the Midlands Future Mobility testbed.
While the model will enable the development of autonomous vehicles in simulation, WMG, alongside other Midlands Future Mobility partners, will provide testing and research support to allow customers to carry out effective real-world correlation.
There are currently three areas within the Midlands Future Mobility testbed that can be used to validate virtual test data on public roads - a road network around the University of Warwick campus, an area of Coventry town centre and a section of Holyhead Road, which is one of the main roads in and out of Coventry.
These areas provide a varied selection of roads that are common across the UK. WMG and rFpro are already exploring phase two, with the aim of further extending the digital-twins to cover more of the Midlands Future Mobility route.
"You cannot feasibly validate autonomous vehicles in the real world alone, there simply isn't enough time or money. We must also exploit the expandability of simulation," said Matt Daley, rFpro managing director. "To do that we must trust the simulation results and so it is vital that we regularly check that they correlate with the real world. Our project with WMG enables the industry to do this on public roads for the first time in the UK. This is a big step towards the approval and adoption of autonomous vehicles."
The real-world routes have the necessary infrastructure required for autonomous vehicle testing and includes geo-fenced closed circuit TV, real-time kinematic corrected GPS and high-capacity wireless connectivity.