Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick has begun work with a consortium of 11 organisations, on a £2.7 million (€3 million) UK government-funded project, to test connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV).
It will use virtual reality and models of pedestrians and other road users that have been developed using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The consortium, OmniCAV, is led by Latent Logic in Oxford. The team is creating a secure and accurate simulation of road conditions and layouts having received the funding as part of a competition run by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK. The environment will be built from a collection of highly detailed scans of real roads, traffic camera data, accident data and near-miss analyses.
These inputs will be used to create a high-fidelity model of real-world roads and road users powered by AI. This model will be used to create an extensive open-access library of virtual reality simulator scenarios to test connected and autonomous vehicles.
OmniCAV will lay the foundations for the development of a comprehensive, robust and secure simulator, aimed at providing a certification tool for CAVs that can be used by regulatory and accreditation bodies, insurers and manufacturers to accelerate the safe development of CAVs.”
The project will validate the realism of the simulator by comparing its outputs with data measured for the equivalent locations and scenarios in the real world. This will include tests on proving grounds and open roads.
The project will culminate in a CAV being put through the entire end-to-end OmniCAV testing programme, from simulator-only to controlled environment, to on-road testing. Through representation on international standard committees, OmniCAV’s results will influence, or lead to the creation of, new international standards to ensure safe deployment and certification of CAVs.
The project will validate the realism of the simulator by comparing its outputs with data measured for the equivalent actual locations and scenarios. This will include tests on proving grounds and open roads. It will culminate in a CAV being put through the entire end-to-end OmniCAV testing programme, from simulator-only, to controlled environment, to on-road testing.
Contributing to international standards
Through representation on international standard committees, OmniCAV’s results will influence, or lead to the creation of, new international standards to ensure safe deployment and certification of CAVs. Professor Paul Jennings, head of intelligent vehicles at WMG and WMG’s principal investigator on the OmniCAV project said, “Our 3xD simulator provides a platform to bridge the virtual world and real world…Scenario identification and virtual validation are still major challenges for the CAV industry.”
Kirsty Lloyd-Jukes, CEO of Latent Logic, adds, “OmniCAV’s vision is ‘CAVs for All’: bringing safer, smarter, self-driving mobility to urban and rural areas. But first we need to know that driverless cars really can handle our challenging road conditions, on country lanes as much as crowded city streets. Virtual reality ‘driving tests’ are the only way of doing this, which is why we’ve brought together these 11 leading organisations to build a world-first, AI-based simulation of real Oxfordshire roads to securely and reliably test autonomous car safety.”
The other members of the consortium are Admiral, Aimsun, Arcadis, Arrival, Ordnance Survey, Oxfordshire County Council, UK Atomic Energy Agency, and XPI Simulation. Thatcham Research is providing advice as a non-funded partner.