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Nissan-backed project to tackle barriers to autonomous vehicles

A new project to help accelerate deployment of autonomous vehicles in UK cities has launched, backed by firms including Nissan.

The ServCity project will work with cities to help them make use of the latest autonomous vehicle technologies and accelerate their introduction, drawing on Nissan’s experiences along with the Connected Places Catapult, TRL, Hitachi and the University of Nottingham.

It will focus on the three key areas of technology, people and scalability, looking to ensure the user experience is as intuitive, inclusive and “engaging” as possible, and will draw on a combination of test simulation, end-user experience research and real-world trials.

The 30-month project is jointly funded by government and industry, and will draw on the HumanDrive project. This completed in February 2020 and tackled autonomous driving on countryside and motorway lanes, overcoming challenges such as roundabout and high-speed country lanes with no marking, white lines, or kerbs in an electric Nissan Leaf. It culminated in the ‘Grand Drive’ from Cranfield to Sunderland, said to be the UK’s longest and most complex autonomous drive.

Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This project, backed by Government funding, will not only help make autonomous vehicles more user friendly, but also give users confidence that they can respond quickly and safely and to all types of challenges they face on the roads.”

The new project will again draw on the Nissan Leaf, supported by technology from Hitachi and SBD Automotive and services from the Human Factors Research Group and TRL.

Nissan’s project manager Bob Bateman said: “We are extremely proud to be a part of the ServCity project and are excited to trial our 100% electric Nissan Leaf as test vehicles. Our Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy strives to achieve a mobility future that is more electric, more autonomous and more connected and we look forward to working in collaboration with ServCity’s other partners to achieve this.”

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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