Driverless trial concludes in Greenwich “getting us closer” to greener, safer, accessible travel

ServCity, a consortium project backed by Nissan and supported by the UK Government has reached its conclusion, deploying advanced autonomous drive technology in complex urban environments in London, integrated with the city’s infrastructure.

Following three years of research and more than 1,600 autonomous test miles driven, Nissan has worked alongside consortium partners to develop a blueprint which will help UK cities incorporate advanced autonomous vehicle technologies with city infrastructure. The project also explored how cities could deliver a “Robotaxi” style service in the future for the benefit of city residents and commuters.

Thomas Tompkin, Head of Network Infrastructure and Operations of SMLL explained: “ServCity is what the Smart Mobility Living Lab was conceived for – to test emerging technologies safely in a real-world urban testbed and accelerate their commercialisation. We configured our roadside sensor infrastructure and data processing to understand and demonstrate the best ways for CAVs to acquire better shared situational awareness from CAV-ready features within the ITS environment. I’m so proud of our engineering team who have supported all the partners in the ServCity project, pushing the boundaries every day to get us one step closer to a transport system that is cleaner, safer and more accessible.”

Edward Mayo, Programme Manager at Connected Places Catapult said: “Throughout the project Connected Places Catapult has been demonstrating the art of the possible in scaling CAV technologies, and their supporting infrastructure, to help get these vehicles delivering vital services as soon as possible. Based on the potential demand for a CAV service, combined with potential areas of operation, the Catapult has helped create a blueprint that provides a basis for follow-on work by many other organisations and aims to assist and enable the full-scale deployment of an operational Robotaxi service in a UK city.

Built upon a 100% electric Nissan LEAF, the ServCity connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) has successfully completed increasingly challenging validation trials on the roads of London, connected to the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) in Greenwich. ServCity was able to leverage the full capabilities SMLL which used its network of roadside sensors and a data processing suite to create a futuristic co-operative infrastructure environment, sending new sources of data to the CAV to improve its situational awareness. The infrastructure can detect an object which is not within line or sight of the vehicle (e.g. around a corner or in the distance) and inform the vehicle so that it can manoeuvre to ensure smooth traffic flow, such as changing lane.

The consortium partners say this project, as with all the previous CAV development projects backed by UK Government funding, is an important means of giving people the confidence that CAVs are safe to introduce on UK roads as well as having a demonstrable benefit to society. To that end, the finale of the project comprises a series of demonstrations to stakeholders where guests can experience first-hand, advanced autonomous drive technologies integrated with CAV-ready infrastructure on the streets of Greenwich.

David Moss, Senior Vice President, Region Research & Development for Nissan AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) said: “We are extremely proud to be a part of the ServCity project and our 100% electric Nissan LEAF has proven to be the ideal test vehicle. Through our Nissan Ambition 2030 long-term vision, we are committed to supporting greater access to safe and exciting mobility. Advancing our autonomous drive capability and expertise is critical to this effort and research projects such as ServCity are vital to the evolution of technology.

“Through our world-class R&D base in Cranfield in the UK, Nissan is continuously innovating to bring cutting-edge, purpose-driven technologies that benefit our customers. ServCity’s achievements contribute to our efforts to usher in a future where we hope to see zero fatalities on the road while providing customers with the added comfort and convenience that come from advanced autonomous drive technologies.”

ServCity is jointly funded by the UK government and consortium partners, the government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility fund administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Over three years, six partners – Nissan, Connected Places Catapult, TRL, Hitachi Europe, the University of Nottingham and SBD Automotive – have been collaborating to develop a blueprint that will guide OEMs, transport providers and city planners to get ‘CAV-ready’ in the UK’s cities.

Autonomous drive technology is key pillar within Nissan Ambition 2030, a long-term vision which will see the company strive to create a cleaner, safer and more inclusive world.

Robert Bateman, Manager, Nissan Technical Centre Europe and Nissan Project Manager for ServCity added: “Not only has Nissan provided the 100% electric Nissan LEAF as a test vehicle, our talented group of engineers have also contributed to the research and development of cutting-edge autonomous drive technology for use within the project. This has enabled the development of a test vehicle that is able to autonomously navigate the busy streets of London alongside other road users – both stationery and moving – while connected with city infrastructure.

“With more than 115 people involved and almost 16,000 working days clocked up across the consortia during the lifetime of the project, ServCity represents an important step towards future deployment of autonomous mobility.”

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “The Government has invested £7million in this project to be at the forefront of innovation. Since then ServCity has proven key to answer the practical questions of how to integrate self-driving vehicles into cities for the public good.”

(Picture – TRL)

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