The University of Southampton will join specialists from 9 other UK Universities on a £11 million project to develop driverless cars.
The announcement on Friday was made by Business Secretary, Sajid Javid. Southampton and Cambridge academics will research the reactions of drivers to an automatic system. The team will start by using a computer simulator, connected to a Jaguar XJ, to test the reactions of a variety drivers in different conditions-such as adverse weather conditions and a range of road types. They plan to then move their investigation onto a test track and monitor the psychological state of the drivers, in order to refine drivers use of automated vehicles.
The project leader at the University of Southampton, Professor Neville Stanton, has predicted that ‘Highly automated vehicles’ may be seen on public roads within ten years.
According to Professor Stanton there is currently a lack of understanding as to how drivers react to automatic cars. However, by studying drivers of varying age, gender and experience the project hopes to improve our understanding of ‘how best to design a the driver-automation interaction and ‘personalise the driver interfaces to the widest range of drivers possible’.
This project is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Services Research Council (EPSRC) and Jaguar Land Rover.