What's your definition of 'intelligent vehicles'?
'Intelligent vehicles' is a catch-all title for our research because we work on connectivity in vehicles; we work on automation in vehicles; and we work on projects that don't involve either. For instance, intelligence in a vehicle could be a way to achieve improved comfort and convenience features or to improve energy management.
What are the main markets for intelligent vehicles? Cars? Trucks? Public transport?
We're talking all of the above. It's important to remember that the market for intelligent vehicles isn't just so that people can move around more safely, comfortably and conveniently. It's about moving goods, too. Whatever market WMG is working in, however, it has to make sure it's here to solve problems and create new opportunities for customers and for our industry partners. Our role is to help UK companies exploit the significant emerging business opportunities through collaborative research, and through provision of new skills and education programmes.
Who are the main players in the intelligent vehicles market?
It's interesting because things have moved beyond traditional automotive companies now. At WMG, we do work with traditional companies and their supply base, of course; but there are new types of designer-manufacturers on the scene too. For example, in low-speed autonomous transport there are companies such as Aurrigo — the autonomous vehicle division of RDM Group — which designs and manufactures low-speed driverless pods here in Coventry. It is also important that we work with other key sectors too, such as wireless communications, simulation and transport infrastructure. Collaboration with authorities such as Transport for West Midlands is also crucial.
What are the main commercial drivers for companies in the intelligent vehicles space?
I'd put safety at the top of the agenda because, first and foremost, everyone wants to be safe. Then there are lower emissions and better energy efficiency. I don't think we can necessarily expect intelligent vehicles to reduce congestion, but they should be able to give us much better estimates about journey times. Also, there's a chance to make different modes of transports work better together — for example improving links between road and rail.
How can UK companies best take advantage of the commercial opportunities they identify?
The Midlands Future Mobility environment we, and our consortium partners, are creating is very exciting and will give real advantages to UK companies. It's going to be a place where they can come to trial their new vehicles, technologies and services in the real world, with proper public and user-engagement. That's a great opportunity for them to learn more from trials, and have the process made easier for them. It's also good for the Midlands which will experience those new technologies and services earlier than everyone else.
How do you see commercial opportunities developing in the future?
I think the whole supply chain will change dramatically. There will be an increasing importance on software, sensors, perception systems and connected components. But I think, over time, business models will change more dramatically as transport becomes more of a mobility-focused service industry, with customers buying 'journeys' rather than 'vehicles'.
Comment from Siddartha Khastgir, Head of Verification and Validation, Intelligent Vehicles at WMG, reveals how the public views advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) — and if these technologies might help with the development of driverless vehicles.
How were advanced driver-assistance systems first received by the public?
When first introduced in the mid to late 1990s, ADAS was largely given a positive reception because applications such as adaptive cruise control (ACC) and anti-lock braking (ABS) were marketed as important safety features — and safety always plays well with the public. But by the early 2000s, trust in ADAS had began to plummet. One reason for this is that the limitations of some ADAS features were not always made clear to drivers, who only discovered their shortcomings by using them. That stands to reason: if I think a system works all the time, but then it suddenly stops working, my trust in it will fall.
How is ADAS received — and used — today?
There is evidence to suggest that people want and are willing to pay for ADAS features; but there's another piece of evidence which suggests they don't use them all the time because they don't fully trust them. That said, popular ADAS features include automated emergency braking (AEB) and electronic stability control (ESC), which are intermittent applications mandated through law in new cars. Indeed, buyers of new vehicles expect mandated ADAS to be included in their purchase.
What are the challenges ADAS systems present to the automotive industry?
One of the biggest is testing because it's very important to ensure that the application is safe. There's also the challenge of getting people to accept it and use it because, as human beings, we like to be fully in control of everything we do. There's also a challenge with insurance, although more so for autonomous vehicles than ADAS. Namely, if there's an accident when the car is in autonomous mode, whose fault will it be? That's an area that's still being worked on. As technology advances, a standard MOT procedure may not be relevant anymore; plus trainees and technicians in garages will need to be re-skilled. Academia and industry needs to focus on how to get supply chains ready for these changes. At WMG we're doing a lot of work in this area with the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre which will be opening shortly.
Does the public's reaction to ADAS indicate how it might greet the emergence of fully autonomous cars?
I think it does. At WMG we work on a concept called Informed Safety, which is about growing trust through knowledge. If manufacturers inform users about what ADAS can and — more importantly — cannot do, then acceptance of it will be much higher.
How might use of ADAS help with the development of autonomous systems going forward?
ADAS is a first step on the journey. Some aspects of ADAS are transferrable to autonomous vehicle technology, others need to be re-engineered. Still, the big difference between ADAS and fully autonomous vehicles is that, with the former, the user still has control. With the latter they're giving up complete control. That's a big, counterintuitive jump to make.
As is becoming ever more apparent, Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) is one of today’s most exciting research and innovation themes within both industry and academia.
It is being demonstrated now on a daily basis through the media that CAM may provide real world impact on societal issues around safety, traffic flow and emissions.
Connections with the roadside infrastructure
Whilst an automated vehicle is able to make decisions on how to judge local situations, the ‘connected’ element is pivotal to enhancing the decision making process to include information from the wider road network.
For example, the ability for CAM to exchange inertia, LiDAR, camera, and radar sensor data, alongside video data from roadside infrastructure provides each vehicle with timely awareness of what is beyond their isolated line of sight. This in turn enables behaviours such as collision avoidance, adaptive speed control or platooning.
A key factor for this to happen is the networks’ ability to seamlessly share high volumes of data with appropriate timeliness.
As consumers we are all used to the ‘G’, or generation, labelling which is attached to our phones. The dominant generation of devices are now 4G, which superseded 3G devices through technical changes in the way the network was designed and led to faster speeds with more responsiveness for our current data driven lifestyle.
Enhancing collision avoidance capabilities
5G is used to describe the fifth generation of mobile communications technologies. Crucially, 5G is more than just a faster internet connection. As a direct comparison over 4G, 5G will have a peak data rate 20 times currently on offer – up to 20Gbit/s, a user experience data rate 10 times that of now – up to 100Mbit/s, but it is the fall in latencies by 10 times to 1ms that makes 5G useful in CAM.
This fall in latency (the time it takes for data to complete its journey) will be critical to enhancing collision avoidance capabilities where every millisecond counts. Also the enhanced peak date rate will allow the sharing of high definition images between infrastructure and vehicles which may assist in so called ‘smarter decisions’ that include contextual information of the situation.
The path to 5G communications providing these capabilities is ongoing, but progressive initiatives by Government from the Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) are accelerating the UKs international competitiveness.
Several academics at the University of Warwick have been awarded a UKRI Future Leader Fellowship, providing world-class research in topics including autonomous vehicles to life in outer space.
The UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) scheme is designed to increase the supply of talented individuals needed to ensure that UK research and innovation continues to be world class.
Seven academics from the University of Warwick have been awarded a future leader fellowship, which will help develop their careers as some of the best researchers and innovators from around the world in the UK.
The academics involved vary from Sciences and Social Science faculties. They are:
· Dr Matthew Spencer – Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
· Dr Tom Gur – Computer Science
· Dr Benjamin Richards – Physics
· Dr Richard Moore – Philosophy
· Dr Angela Aristidou – Warwick Business School
· Mr Siddartha Khastgir – WMG
· Dr Heather Cegla – Physics
Responding to the success of University of Warwick academics securing Future Leadership Fellowships from UKRI, Professor Pam Thomas, the University of Warwick’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research said:
“I am delighted to see University of Warwick researchers being recognised by UKRI, and for them to receive support for their ground-breaking research. Drawn from across our University, the seven fellowships are welcome recognition of the depth, breadth and ingenuity of Warwick research. I wish our academics the very best as they continue their work and greatly look forward to following their progress.”
Universities Minister Chris Skidmore comments:
“Delivering on our research and innovation ambitions means putting people first, whether they are just starting out in their career or are leading major projects in academia or industry.
“These inspirational Future Leaders Fellows will generate the ideas of the future, helping to shape science and research for the 21st century. But to realise the full potential of these discoveries, their ideas need to be taken out of the lab and turned into real products and services, where they can actually change people’s lives for the better.
“That’s why we are creating 20 new University Enterprise Zones, helping local start-ups to co-locate in universities to build the businesses of the future – all inspired by university research.”
Professor Sir Mark Walport, UK Research and Innovation’s Chief Executive, said: “The Future Leaders Fellowships will enable the most promising researchers and innovators to become leaders in their fields, working on subjects as diverse as climate change, dementia and quantum computing.
“UKRI is committed to creating modern research and innovation careers and our Future Leaders Fellowships aim to support and retain the most talented people, including those with flexible career paths."
Dr Matthew Spencer, of the University of Warwick’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies will be researching Cybersecurity, will focus on producing new insights about cyber security practice through ethnographic analysis in Critical National Infrastructure organisations, closing the loop between cyber security policy and practice and develop new participative methods to improve cyber security practice.
Commenting on his research Dr Tom Gur, of the University of Warwick’s Department of Computer Science, said that it will be “focused on pushing the boundaries of classical and quantum verifiable computing and its real-world applications to delegation of computation to the cloud, as well as to blockchain technology. Its primary objective is to develop a wide arsenal of tools that would open new possibilities for meeting the challenges imposed by big data and the need for decentralised peer-to-peer systems.”
Dr Benjamin Richards, of the University of Warwick’s Department of Physics, says that he intends to “make a vital measurement of the rate and energy of neutrinos that arrive from distant supernovae throughout the galaxy. The properties of these neutrinos will tell us much about the wider composition of the universe as well as neutrinos themselves. This measurement will allow us to test the rate of black hole formation in the universe, test our models of supernova and tell us about the origin of heavy elements and metallicity of the galaxies.”
Dr Richard Moore, of the University of Warwick’s Department of Philosophy, will use the tools of philosophy, linguistics, and psychology to develop a new account of the developmental relationship between 'mindreading' and communication. Commenting, Dr Moore said: “Mindreading, involving the use of a 'theory of mind' (ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states to others to predict and explain their behaviour. Humans are better at this than other species, but the origins of uniquely human forms of ToM are disputed.”
Dr Angela Aristidou, of Warwick Business School, proposes to study the challenges of partnering across sectors, focusing on partnerships between the public sector and third sector, including charities, voluntary and community organizations. Commenting, Dr Aritidou seeks to examine these innovative partnerships, “I propose a project that leverages a multi-case, longitudinal design and draws on management, economics and public policy research”.
The research by Mr Siddartha Khastgir of WMG at the University of Warwick will focus on the global Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) industry, worth over £50billion (by 2035), with the UK CAV industry being projected over £3billion. Commenting, Mr Khastgir said that “the UK Government's Industrial Strategy aims to bring fully autonomous cars on the UK roads by 2021, one of the first countries in the world to achieve this. However, in order to realise this vision and the market potential, safe introduction of CAV is necessary, requiring significant research to overcome diverse barriers (technological, legislative and societal) associated with public deployment of CAV.”
Dr Heather Cegla of the University of Warwick’s department of Physics will use her research to help try and answer one of the biggest questions of all; Are we alone in the Universe? To understand the origins of life in the cosmos, we must also create a complete picture of planetary formation, evolution, and habitability. Commenting Dr Cegla said she aims to “understand and disentangle a fundamental barrier on the pathway to confirming other Earths: the stellar surface inhomogeneities from convection. Planet confirmation requires a mass measurement, which can be determined from the Doppler shift of the absorption lines in the stellar atmosphere.”
20 SEPTEMBER 2019
NOTES TO EDITORS
For further information please contact:
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
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- The security, privacy and safety of connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) has been improved thanks to testing at WMG, University of Warwick
- WMG undertook real-world testing of four innovations in the IoT-enabled Transport and Mobility Demonstrator.
- They were able to connect CAVs to other CAVs and roadside infrastructure more securely and privately.
The privacy and security of data in CAVs has been improved thanks to WMG, University of Warwick who tested four innovations that were results of the PETRAS project. CAVs can now connect to each other, roadside infrastructure, and roadside infrastructure to each other more securely.
In the near future Connected and Autonomous Vehicles are expected to become widely used across the UK. To ensure a smooth deployment, researchers from WMG, University of Warwick undertook real-world testing of four academic innovations in the IoT-enabled Transport and Mobility Demonstrator project funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation.
The testing looked at how the vehicles will connect to each other, as well as to roadside infrastructure, and the roadside infrastructures to each other.
The four innovations tested were developed within the PETRAS Internet of Things Research Hub and aimed to improve the security, privacy and safety of future connected vehicles.
The four new innovations included:
1. Group Signatures
For a vehicle to communicate it is important that the messages it sends contain a proof that the vehicle is who they claim to be (via a digital signature). However, by revealing and proving the vehicle’s identity it allows that vehicle to be tracked over a long time. In order to provide privacy a group signature can be used, which only indicates that the vehicle is a member of a group.
The group signature scheme can be extended to use a timestamp that updates every 10 minutes as a component of the signature. Therefore, if the vehicle was to send the exact same message at 10:00am and 10:10am the group signature would differ and an eavesdropper would not be able link that the vehicle sent both messages. This scheme would be useful in vehicle platooning where vehicles want to demonstrate they are part of the platoon group.
2. Authentication Prioritisation
It is an expensive task for a vehicle to verify another’s identity. Vehicles will have limited computing resources and so will only be able to verify a specific number of identities included in messages per second. For example, if a vehicle is on a busy motorway in traffic there may already be more vehicles sending messages that can be verified in a timely manner. An adversary may also try to send many messages with incorrect signatures in order to prevent vehicles from verifying the identity of actual vehicles. Therefore the order in which the identity of messages are verified is decided based on assigning a priority to the messages. A higher priority means that those messages have the identity of the sender verified first.
3. Decentralised PKI
When a vehicle is travelling down a road it may meet multiple vehicles in a short space of time. In order to check the identity of these vehicles, the public key of the other vehicle needs to be downloaded from a keyserver. However, hosting this keyserver in the cloud has limitations due to additional communication hops increasing the time before the vehicle receives the necessary keys. Instead, vehicles can receive these keys faster if the keysever is distributed over Edge infrastructure that sits next to the road.
4. Decentralised PKI with Pseudonyms
This innovation extended the previous innovation to support periodically issuing new identities to vehicles on the road to provide privacy. Both this innovation and group signatures may be required, as they are useful in different scenarios.
Each of the techniques above were demonstrated in the real world on the campuses of the Universities of Warwick and Surrey, as well as Millbrook Proving Ground.
A follow up executive summary, informed through feedback when the work was presented at the House of Lords, is now available. The summary makes a number of recommendations, including more communication infrastructure should be deployed, and that researchers should have an ability test different types of cyberattacks on CAVs and roadside infrastructure. 5G should also be used to perform the testing, as 5G is being rolled out across the UK in the future.
Lead of the project Professor Carsten Maple of WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“The cyber-security of CAVs is key to make sure that when the vehicles are on the roads, the data is trustworthy and that vehicle communications do not compromise privacy. We tested four innovations developed in the PETRAS Project, and being able to apply them to the real world is the first major step in testing security of CAV systems.
“The units being investigated to be used in cars and on the roadside were taken to Parliament in February to demonstrate how they work; now we can focus on further testing in the real world. Future work include will include testing on 5G systems, and with different types of attacks”.
- Self-driving vehicles can use 5G for remote driving and enhanced vehicular perception through the sharing of sensor data with other vehicles and the roadside infrastructure
- As 5G becomes ever more popular, researchers at WMG, University of Warwick, install Europe’s first over-the-air 5G New Radio test user equipment.
- The equipment will be used in connected autonomous vehicles on the Midlands Future Mobility testbed.
A future of self-driving vehicles enabled by the latest high-speed 5G mobile technology is to be investigated by the University of Warwick thanks to the installation of state of the art test equipment.
The first over-the-air 5G New Radio standard-compliant test user equipment (UE) in Europe has been homed at WMG, University of Warwick. The equipment will be put in Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) being tested on the Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) testbed on the University campus, to share sensor data with other vehicles and the roadside infrastructure.
With the accelerating deployment of 5G functions on existing wireless telecommunication networks, the time is right to test the full potential of 5G independently. As the lead of the MFM testbed for CAVs, WMG, at the University of Warwick, has set enabling and performance testing of high throughput, low latency CAV use cases as one of their key research focusses.
Its use cases include remote driving and enhanced vehicular perception through the sharing of sensor data with other vehicles and the roadside infrastructure. Moreover, WMG also aims to enhance the quality of future mobility services by exploring how to seamlessly stream infotainment content for CAV passengers over a 5G link.
In this role, WMG have just installed Europe’s first 5G New Radio test UE that is fully compliant with Release 15 of the 5G technology standard developed by the 3GPP. It can emulate full UE operation and test real-time performance of 5G wireless connections to external base stations.
The mobile UE can be placed inside MFM vehicles on its 5G campus testbed, and payload data can be sent through 5G infrastructure into its further 5G network.
WMG and MFM are already engaged with a variety of industrial partners regarding connectivity, technology verification and validation, and the understanding and optimisation of user interaction with driverless technology. This new installation will further support their leading role in CAV development and testing, and help them accelerate the related product and service design and deployment.
Besides providing 5G automotive communication, this technology is, among others, also transferable to the manufacturing sector and supports Industry 4.0 use cases in which massive connectivity, high throughput and low latency mobile communication requirements exist as well.
A team of researchers led by Dr Matthew Higgins, Associate Professor at WMG, is now integrating this new technology component from NI into their current projects.
WMG’s Dr Matthew Higgins said:
“Crucial to our research strategy is the ability to understand and demonstrate the potential of 5G communications systems to our project partners early in their product development cycle. NI’s latest 5G test solution enables us to conduct standard-compliant, real-time 5G link performance tests inside both a controlled lab environment as well as outdoors in campus trials before commercial hardware is available.”
Dr Erik Kampert, HVM Catapult Senior Research Fellow added that:
“Being experienced users of state-of-the-art 5G communications equipment, this unique UE solution from NI facilitates us to expand our capabilities for CR&D work and collaborative project with CAV partners.”
James Kimery, Director of Wireless Research and SDR marketing at NI said:
“5G promises to not only revolutionize the wireless industry but also pervade and expand into other areas. For 5G application research, standard compliant technologies and solutions such as the NI Test UE are critically important to furthering this research and spurring innovation. NI is very excited to work with researchers at WMG and MFM and applaud their vision of evolving 5G into automotive, manufacturing, and beyond.”
One of Europe’s largest science festivals is coming to town between September 10th and 13th.
With a schedule comprising more than 100 free events, activities and performances, the British Science Festival will “transform the region into a celebration of science and culture”.
The festival will feature talks from a selection of WMG experts, including Erik Kampert - Senior Research Fellow, Dave Greenwood – Professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems, Mark Williams – Professor of Metrology and Alan Chalmers – Professor of Visualisation.
Held in partnership with the University of Warwick, the programme highlights local strength in digital technologies, smart cities and the future of energy and healthcare.
There’s a special emphasis on the fun, thought-provoking, and societal aspects of science to show how it’s not just confined to laboratories, but something that’s all around us.
Plus, there will be a special filming of The Sky at Night: Question Time with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Professor Chris Lintott.
Other highlights include interactive experiences like a live 3-D psychedelic show and festival carpool in a driverless pod, discussions on how ‘gaming becomes gambling’, how AI could revolutionise cancer treatment, and how to tackle food poverty with food writer Jack Monroe.
Not to mention, a mud kitchen and tea-blending for adults and a takeover of Coventry’s FarGo Village with comedy, artistic workshops and an escape room.
As part of an Australian delegation’s visit to the UK, Victorian Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Transport Accident Commission (TAC), The Hon Jaala Pulford MP, was welcomed to WMG, University of Warwick on Monday 29th July.
The delegation, including members of the Transport Accident Commission and the Victoria Police, are considering types of technology and innovation to pursue across vehicle, enforcement and infrastructure in the development of its Towards Zero post 2020 strategy.
Visitors explored international best practice and innovation in the context of the project, with the initiative aiming to reduce serious road trauma through innovative transport systems.
Greeted by Professor David Mullins, Interim Head of Department at WMG, the Minister took a tour around WMG’s world-class facilities, including its International Manufacturing Centre (IMC), Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) and newly-opened National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC).
Appointed Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Transport Accident Commission in December 2018, The Hon Jaala Pulford MP is now looking at how different jurisdictions are meeting the road safety leadership challenge and, commenting on today’s visit to WMG, she said:
“We’ve had an invaluable visit to WMG today. There’s a great energy to the partnership between industry and research as we all strive to gain the benefits of connection and automation to safety and congestion management. WMG has given us much to reflect on.”
The Victorian Towards Zero 2016 - 2020 Strategy and Action Plan maps out a plan for Victorian road safety partners to work towards a 20% reduction in deaths and 15% reduction in serious injuries in five years. Professor David Mullins, Interim Head of Department at WMG added:
“It was a pleasure to welcome the Victorian Minister and her delegation to WMG. This provided an opportunity for us to showcase the pioneering work we are doing. We were able to highlight our cutting-edge technology and the infrastructure we’ve built here to successfully run our portfolio of transport-based projects and initiatives.
“This visit was about gathering intelligence to explore innovative technologies and strategies that can reduce the risk of serious road trauma. Being involved in such an important activity and sharing WMG’s expertise and facilities with the world is extremely important.”
Do passengers prefer autonomous vehicles driven like machines or like humans?– research finds that “peeking round” corners provides answers
Passenger and pedestrian confidence and acceptance will be key to the future and development of autonomous vehicles so researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick have just conducted and reported an experiment to see which autonomous vehicles driving style engendered the highest levels of confidence among autonomous vehicles passengers – driving with full machine efficiency, or driving in a way that emulates average human driving. The surprising result was that neither was optimal but that a blend of both might be best.
The researchers took 43 volunteers into a large warehouse designed to resemble a pedestrianised area in a town centre with a series of routes that included a range of junctions. Half were given 4 journeys around the route in an autonomous vehicle driving with full machine efficiency using all its capabilities to drive in as safe and efficient manner as possible while the others were given 4 journeys around the route in autonomous vehicles that tried to closely emulate average human driving patterns. They then scored the level of trust in the autonomous vehicles. The result has have just been published in the journal Information (2019, 10, 219; doi:10.3390/info10060219).
The overall result was that there was only a marginal difference in trust between the two driving methods. The efficient machine method was slightly favoured but even that small gap between the two driving styles narrowed over the four runs. What was noticeable for both the “machine” and “human“ driving styles is that confidence in both grew with each new round suggesting that simple familiarity and growing accustomed to the experience will be one of the most effective ways of quickly building trust and acceptance of autonomous vehicles once their use becomes more widespread.
Mean scores of trust
Dr Luis Oliveira from WMG at the University of Warwick and the lead author on the paper said:
“The overall trust in both driving methods grew with every run. In the machine-like driving style this was steady upwards curve throughout the four journeys but in human-like behaviour there was a particularly steep change upwards in the scores between runs 2 and 3. The passengers in the experiment also acknowledged that future generations may be more comfortable with AVs and its features, as they learn to live with the new technology.”
The researchers also asked the participants to give some narrative about their experience and this showed that there were advantages on both modes of driving that may therefore need to be blended together in any future final package. The researchers’ literature review and warehouse experiment made clear that there re were two particularly clear lessons to be learned:
Smooth speed change – Past studies had already shown that Human drivers’ tendency is to break most at the start of any manoeuvre that requires deceleration whilst the totally automated driving programmes applied speed changes more gradually and efficiently. Human passengers preferred the comfort of the smoother changes of acceleration and deceleration provided by the machine driving methods.
Sharp turns - A common complaint was a feeling that the vehicles were performing uncomfortable and worrying sharp turns. This feeling was actually expressed by both those in the machine and Human style driving set ups but it was much more noticeable in the machine-like driving style condition. One typical negative comment was “what you’d expect from a driver is a bit of a gradual turn….there were moments where it was accelerating around corners, I think it catches you unaware.”
WMG’s Dr Luis Oliveira said:
“This shows that the challenge is that the speed and trajectory of autonomous vehicles should be finely controlled, but at the same time the vehicle should be assertive to provide the benefits of automated driving."
However it was the AV’s behaviours at junctions in the WMG University of Warwick warehouse test that produced the most diverse and surprising reactions.
The machine driven AVs were left to make use of all of their sensors and ability to communicate with vehicles that may out of line of sight to decide whether to enter a junction. If their sensors said it was safe and their communications with other vehicles indicated no approaching threats they would simply enter the junction without stopping. If however they detected a vehicle that they believed should have right of way – even if it was not yet visible to the human passenger they would stop and let that vehicle pass. In contrast The AV’s emulating human driving would always stop at a junction and would even edge into the junction as if the peek at what the oncoming traffic might be.
The reactions to those two different approaches were very varied and surprising.
Some liked the human approach with one saying that the AV was “…probably trying to inspire confidence in the passenger, I’m guessing, in terms of like the way it behaved, kind of quite similar to a human, it’s only ever going to inspire confidence I think it’s because that’s what we’re used to”.
Some also liked the machine driving approach of stopping at junctions even though there was no visible issue but because it was in communication with another out of sight vehicle that it perceived had right of way. One passage said: “it stopped at a junction, because I assume it knew that something was coming, as opposed to it reacting to seeing something coming”.
Equally there was dislike for both the human and machine driving methods of handling a junction.
Some perceived problems with the machine approach of just entering the junction if it believed it to be clear to do so with one saying that they were concerned about vulnerable road users. “..such as pedestrians or cyclists that could have been there that don’t communicate with the pod. That may be a safer way of doing it rather than flying around the corner”.
However others were greatly surprised at the “human” driving method AV stopping at every junction as they saw it not just as waste of the machines capabilities to scan and communicate ahead to understand traffic. They were frustrated that the vehicle was not “more assertive” One passenger saying “sometimes I didn’t expect it to stop, because I thought the other pod was a bit further away but then it did, so I guess it’s cautious…if I was driving I’d probably have gone”. Another passenger said “If I was in an autonomous pod with sensors giving a 360-degree view at all times, I’d expect the vehicle to instantaneously know whether it was safe or not, and not need to edge out”.
A further passenger who tested the human-like version, commented that a machine driving like a human and trying to look around the corners seemed ironically unnatural saying: “I think it was a bit unexpected because my expectation with the pods is that that there would be some un-naturalism to it rather than a human driver”.
Despite this seeming mass of contradictions in views about how AVs should handle junctions the research team do think there are valuable lessons to be learned even here. In particular:
- There is clearly a need to give the general public the details of the driving systems, for example, the recent technological features such as vehicle to vehicle communication
- For passengers in a vehicle consideration should be given to having a display and/or audio information that shares some of the information the vehicle is using so users can understand that the system is aware of hazards beyond the field of view.
- There may be some merit in presenting the full benefits of the most efficient methods of machine based driving progressively when mass use is first introduced, so that passengers can build confidence over time
Note for editors: The full list of authors on the paper is Luis Oliveira (corresponding authour), Christopher G. Burns, and Professor Stewart Birrell (all of WMG at the University of Warwick at time of publication of the journal article) and Karl Proctor of Jaguar Land Rover.
For further details please contact:
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University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845
WMG Research Fellow, Sid-Ali Amamra, has been selected to present his work at the prestigious STEM for BRITAIN event on Wednesday 13th March.
The event takes place at Westminster with around 100 MPs in attendance to hear more about the current science, engineering and mathematics research by early-stage and early-career researchers in the UK.
Sid-Ali works within WMG’s Intelligent Vehicles research team focusing on the advanced energy management systems for electrical networks and power systems integrating plug-in electric vehicle with Li-ion battery technologies.
Sid-Ali’s poster on research about the Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G) technology supervision using internet of things (IoT) will be judged against dozens of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind. He was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament.
Sid-Ali explains: “I feel happy to present WMG at this event. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to communicate my research to an interesting audience and to present the high impact of my project for helping government to reach the net-zero emissions UK’s target in near future.
“It gives me a chance to go to Parliament and be in the company of MPs, policymakers and key figures, as well as others researchers from around the country. At STEM for BRITAIN, I want to explain the promising results of using V2G technology to help achieve the UK’s zero emission target.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said:
“This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.
“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”
Sid-Ali’s research has been entered into the engineering session of the competition, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony.
Judged by leading academics, the gold medalist receives £2,000, while silver and bronze receive £1,250 and £750 respectively.
The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, with financial support from the Clay Mathematics Institute, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, WMG, Society of Chemical Industry, the Nutrition Society, Institute of Biomedical Science, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research and the Comino Foundation.
WMG is proud to be sponsoring the Engineering section for the third year.
Find out more about STEM for Britain here.