Nissan-backed evolvAD autonomous driving project gets underway

Autonomous cars, Electric Vehicles, News

evolvAD, the UK’s newest autonomous driving research project backed by Nissan and funded by the UK Government, has officially got underway.  

To enhance the UK’s autonomous drive capability and technically support the supply chain’s readiness for mass adoption, evolvAD will put Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) through their paces on a variety of urban residential and complex rural roads.

These types of roads present their own unique set of challenges for autonomous driving technology. For example, in residential areas, drivers often face narrow roads, single lanes with parked vehicles on either side and slow driving speeds. Rural roads can include similar conditions but with higher driving speeds and winding roads with little to no road markings.  

Delivered by a consortium of five industry partners including Nissan as technical lead, the research project is jointly funded by the government and consortium partners. The government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility fund is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Over the course of the next 21 months, the evolvAD project will use the combined expertise of the five partners – Nissan,  Connected Places Catapult, Humanising Autonomy, SBD Automotive and TRL – to technically support UK supply chain readiness for future mass deployment of autonomous driving technologies in the UK.

This comprises several focus areas designed to advance the UK’s autonomous drive capability including Nissan’s work to trial advanced autonomous driving technology in built-up residential areas in collaboration with TRL.

Utilising infrastructure such as CCTV in residential areas, the evolvAD CAVs will be able to receive information to improve situational awareness, creating a test study on how vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) technologies can be used to enhance the performance of CAVs. The project will also look to develop new V2I technologies to further support the deployment of autonomous drive vehicles. Furthermore, Nissan will trial the technology on complex rural roads and explore what transport opportunities autonomous mobility can provide to A roads and minor roads that are mostly found within rural and intercity communities. 

Commencing in July 2023, the project is already underway in the development phase, using 100% electric Nissan LEAFs as the test vehicles. The vehicles will be tested in simulation and on private test tracks before the evolvAD CAVs are put through their paces on live roads in the coming months.

Says David Moss, Senior Vice President, Region Research & Development for Nissan AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) says:

“We are extremely proud to be a part of the evolvAD project in the UK, working alongside some brilliant partners to test and trial our technology further.

“Through Nissan Ambition 2030 we want to empower mobility for everyone, and autonomous drive technologies are critical to this effort as they offer huge benefits in terms of vehicle safety, environmental impact and accessibility. As we celebrate 35 years of NTCE in the UK, we’re excited to get going with this next project that will help ensure we continue to deliver technology of the future that truly benefits our customers.”

Today’s announcement comes as NTCE, Nissan’s European R&D headquarters based in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, celebrates 35 years of engineering in the UK this year. Growing from a small team to around 1,000 employees, NTCE has delivered 33 models in Europe to date, including the Nissan Qashqai, JUKE and LEAF.  

Chris Price
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