Autonomous cars are no longer a pipe dream. The ground-breaking i-Motors project aims to standardise the way connected and driverless vehicles talk to each other and other machines, as well as store and process data. The team has just secured £1.35 million from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) via Innovate UK to fund the research.
Driverless cars are forecast to be a major industry by 2030 and ‘connected cars’ – vehicles fitted with devices to communicate with other cars and equipment – already account for 800,000 of the UK’s vehicles. That number is predicted to reach two million in the next 10 years.
The i-Motors project is seeking to put this technology to practical use, making roads safer and cutting congestion. At the heart of the initiative will be establishing a universal standard allowing different brands of vehicles to communicate with each other and other machines, and to transfer and store information.
Digital technology specialist Control F1 is the leading partner on the project, supported by Newcastle-based business advisors UNW. The Geospatial Institute and Human Factors Research Group are working to develop a mobile platform to share data and take on board information such as traffic, weather and events reports, which will improve road safety and ease traffic bottlenecks. The technology will be piloted in Nottingham, Coventry and Sheffield City Councils’ areas.
Control F1 managing director, Andy Dumbell, said: “As is always the case when dealing with big data, it’s only effective if you know how to use it. We believe that through i-Motors we can set the standard for connected and autonomous vehicles and redefine the future of our streets, highways and cities.”
Control F1, the University of Nottingham’s Geospatial Institute, Human Factors Research Group, traffic management specialists InfoHub Ltd, remote sensing experts Head Communications and telecoms firm Huduma, are also investing £750,000 in the project.