JAGUAR Land Rover has discreetly begun testing self-driving vehicles on Coventry roads.
The Coventry-based company is testing revolutionary new autonomous and connected vehicles in real-world conditions.
The vehicles have been quietly directing themselves on Coventry’s roads over the last few days.
Coventry joins just 12 other cities, globally, in conducting tests on public roads.
According to JLR, the vision is to overtake international competitors in the race for the creation of the first truly intelligent vehicles.
Not only can the cars drive themselves, they can communicate with other driverless vehicles and roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights.
Testing the vehicles is part of the £20million UK Autodrive project.
The trials are a flirtation with the future, exploring whether vehicles can replicate human behaviour and reactions when driving.
JLR is developing both fully and semi-autonomous vehicle technologies to offer customers a choice of an engaged or autonomous drive.
Executive director at JLR, Nick Rogers, said: “Testing this self-driving project on public roads is so exciting, as the complexity of the environment allows us to find robust ways to increase road safety in the future.
“By using inputs from multiple sensors, and finding intelligent ways to process this data, we are gaining accurate technical insight to pioneer the automotive application of these technologies.
“Jaguar Land Rover is proud to be a leader in collaborative research projects for autonomous and connected cars.
“We are supporting innovative research that will be integral to the infrastructure, technology and legal landscape needed to make intelligent, self-driving vehicles a reality within the next decade.”
UK Autodrive is the largest of three consortia launched to support the introduction of self-driving vehicles into the UK.
It is helping to establish the UK as a global hub for research, development and integration of automated and connected vehicles into society.
Coventry City Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration said: “I’m really pleased that the UK’s first collaborative on-road trialling of autonomous and connected vehicles is taking place in Coventry – the birthplace of the motor car.
“This new technology is moving rapidly and this is an important step and one we are all very excited about.
“Autonomous and connected cars will be a reality in the near future and I am confident they will help to boost safety, reduce congestion and improve air quality.
“Along with battery technology they will also help to create thousands of new jobs in the automotive sector and its supply chain.
“It’s right that Coventry is at the heart of all of this innovation, so we are pleased that these trials are happening here.”
The trials will continue into 2018.