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Nissan-Backed EvolvAD Autonomous Mobility

Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) is celebrating its 35th anniversary since its inception in the UK. What started as a modest outbuilding on Nissan’s Sunderland production site has evolved into a thriving R&D hub in Cranfield, boasting a workforce of 1,000 dedicated employees. Over the years, NTCE has transformed into one of Nissan’s major global research and development facilities, playing a pivotal role in advancing automotive technology.

One of NTCE’s primary areas of focus is autonomous driving, a field with immense potential to reshape the future of mobility. Building on previous involvements in innovative projects such as HumanDrive and ServCity, Nissan is now part of the EvolvAD initiative. This project, backed by funding from the UK government through Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), is a collaborative effort involving various industry partners. This consortium includes Nissan, the Connected Places Catapult, Humanising Autonomy, SBD Automotive, and TRL.

David Moss, Senior Vice President of Region Research and Development for Nissan AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania), expressed pride in their participation in the EvolvAD project, emphasizing the importance of autonomous drive technologies in Nissan’s vision for the future. Nissan Ambition 2030 aims to make mobility accessible to all while focusing on vehicle safety, environmental impact, and accessibility.

EvolvAD’s mission is to subject connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) to rigorous testing on a variety of road types, including urban residential, and rural roads. These roads pose unique challenges for autonomous driving technology, including narrow lanes, parked vehicles, slow driving speeds, and minimal road markings in rural areas. The project, which commenced in July 2023, spans 21 months and aims to prepare the UK supply chain for the future deployment of AD technologies.

The project encompasses several key areas designed to advance the UK’s autonomous drive capabilities. Nissan, in collaboration with TRL, will trial advanced AD technology in residential areas. Before hitting live roads, the vehicles will undergo testing in simulation and on private test tracks.

Robert Bateman, EvolvAD Project Manager and Manager of Nissan’s Research and Advanced Engineering team at NTCE, highlighted the importance of testing on various road types to bring autonomous driving to market successfully. The ultimate goal is to make driving cleaner, safer, and more inclusive for everyone, and collaborative efforts with consortium partners will play a vital role in achieving this.

To enhance situational awareness, the CAVs in EvolvAD will utilize infrastructure such as CCTV in residential areas. This information exchange will explore how vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication can improve performance. Additionally, the project aims to develop new V2I technologies to support the deployment of AD vehicles, aligning with the UK government’s objectives in advancing autonomous technology.

Nusrat Ghani, UK Minister for Industry and Economic Security, emphasized the transformative potential of self-driving vehicles. These vehicles can enhance safety, reduce environmental impact, and contribute to economic growth by creating highly skilled jobs. The research conducted within the EvolvAD project aligns with these goals, showcasing the UK’s leadership in innovative, safety-centric automated technology.

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