Transport Minister, Claire Perry and Business Secretary, Vince Cable will launch the VENTURER consortium’s driverless car trial today, giving the project the green light to test autonomous vehicles in the real world. Williams Advanced Engineering will be bringing its simulator and artificial intelligence technology to the project, with a bespoke simulator created that can test the cars in a virtual environment before they hit the road. Williams’ expertise in simulation first began in Formula One where the teams’ drivers use state of the art simulation tools to prepare for each race.
The VENTURER consortium will trial autonomous vehicles in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire council areas to explore the feasibility of driverless cars in the UK. The project will investigate the legal and insurance aspects of driverless cars and explore how the public react to such vehicles. The VENTURER trial will run for 36 months. Testing of the consortium’s autonomous vehicle, the BAE Systems Wildcat, on private and public roads is due to begin in early 2016.
Speaking about the launch Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “Today’s launch of three new government backed autonomous vehicle projects is an exciting step for the UK automotive industry. These projects are demonstrating that the UK is determined to remain at the forefront of emerging technologies. At Williams Advanced Engineering we pride ourselves on developing cutting edge solutions for our range of clients and with the VENTURER project we will be using Formula One derived simulation systems and know how to evaluate and test driverless vehicles in a virtual environment before taking to the road.”
Transport Minister Claire Perry said: “Driverless cars are the future. I want the UK to be open-minded and embrace a technology that could transform our roads and open up a brand new route for global investment. I want the public to be comfortable that proper safeguards are in place and the Bristol trials will go a long way in helping us better understand the full implications of this exciting development.”