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Autonomous Vehicles

The extent to which automation and robotics are influencing the ways in which we can move people and goods, from automated asset inspection to driverless cars is rapidly growing.

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However, there are issues that must be considered if this is to occur effectively and efficiently:

  • Safety - what can be done to ensure that automated systems act in a robust, reliable manner with safety as the highest priority?
  • Human factors - how will automation affect the way people use and interact with transportation systems?
  • Societal and commercial effects - how will the implementation of automation in transport systems affect access to transport, value chains and business models?
  • Standards - what level of standardisation is required to ensure safety and consistency without constraining innovation?

What we can do 

With a range of relevant facilities and expertise, through participation in expert working groups and standards bodies and with extensive contacts in key academic and commercial organisations, TRL is well placed to undertake research and consultancy for a range of clients.  This includes TRL’s DigiCar which can be run as an automated  vehicle as and when required.  A video demonstration of TRL’s DigiCar operating in different automated modes can be found at the foot of this page.

Our services include:

  • Consumer attitudes and behavioural research
  • Modelling of automation uptake
  • Technology and safety evaluation and assessment (physical performance and behavioural impacts)
  • Independent product evaluation
  • Accreditation, certification and regulation
  • Product testing
  • Driving simulation

Recent work includes: 

  • Participation in a European project investigating how vehicle automation may change driver behaviour for which we used TRL's advanced driving simulator DigiCar.
  • Undertaken a feasibility study with Ricardo looking in automated platooning of lorries on UK motorways for for the Department for Transport
  • Production of a report to determine how automation will affect value chains in road and rail

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