Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies, industry expertise and world-class academic research, the £5million VENTURER research and development project has over the last three years established the West of England as a centre of excellence for the safe user-led trialling of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology.
Drawing on its rich partnership of public, private and academic experts, VENTURER systematically assessed road users’ responses to the introduction of driverless cars, using a series of increasingly complex scenarios, to understand the blockers and drivers to wide-scale adoption of CAV capability. Enabled by its technical know-how, the project’s trials and studies provide a clear picture of the challenges around public acceptance and behaviour, as well as the legal and insurance implications of increased vehicle autonomy.
VENTURER conducted its trials using both realistic simulation environments and a controlled road network.
Co-funded by government and industry, VENTURER brought together a rich partnership of public, private and academic experts in the West of England. The project partners (listed below) deployed a combination of state of the art technologies, industry expertise and world-class academic research to develop market-leading capabilities.
The main objectives of the project were to:
- Understand the blockers and drivers to the wide-scale adoption of CAV capability, including public acceptance.
- Develop an understanding of the insurance and legal implications of increased vehicle autonomy.
- Develop a range of CAV technologies, including a fully immersive CAV simulator.
To deliver its objectives, VENTURER undertook a series of CAV trials involving members of the public. VENTURER also engaged in a wide programme of public engagement.
The VENTURER user and technology trials took place at the University of the West of England Bristol’s campus, using both a realistic simulation environment and an on-road CAV deployed on a controlled road network. The trials included:
- Trial 1: Testing the planned handover of control between a vehicle and a driver.
- Trial 2: Exploring the interactions between a CAV and conventional vehicles at junctions.
- Trial 3: Investigating trust in CAVs during interactions with other road users, such as cyclists pedestrians. Trial 3 also involved the UK’s first on-road demonstration of a CAV interacting with a bus.
Further to the trials, VENTURER undertook social research into the public acceptability of CAVs and researched the legal and insurance aspects of CAV deployment.
Further to this, VENTURER also conducted a public pod demonstration at Millennium Square in Bristol city centre and three showcase events.
VENTURER delivered ground-breaking results that will affect how CAVs are deployed onto public roads. The project’s key achievements include:
- Increasing the knowledge of the potential effects and requirements for the successful adoption of CAVs in the UK.
- Enabling the development of a more flexible regulatory framework for CAVs in the UK.
- Developing insight into public acceptance challenges through social research.
- Developing a successful method for the delivery of safe CAV trials.
- Establishing lasting relationships resulting in a regional cluster of CAV knowledge and expertise in the West of England.
During the project, CAV technologies and capabilities were developed that will help to advance the UK’s ambition to be a world leader in CAV development and deployment. These technologies and capabilities are available through the VENTURER Alliance.