Extensive tests to steer the future of self-driving cars

A thousand drivers will soon be taking to Europe's roads behind the wheels of self-driving cars - as part of an EU-funded project to test the safety and efficiency of automated driving.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


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Published: 5 June 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Industrial research
Information societyInformation technology
Innovation
International cooperation
Research policyHorizon 2020
SMEs
TransportRoad
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Austria  |  Belgium  |  Finland  |  France  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Italy  |  Netherlands  |  Norway  |  Sweden  |  Switzerland  |  United Kingdom
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Extensive tests to steer the future of self-driving cars

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© Volkswagen AG, 2018

The dawn of self-driving cars has been discussed for many years. Research shows that automated driving (AD) could increase the capacity of road networks, increase shared mobility, and reduce energy consumption. It could also deliver safer roads.

Although significant technological progress has been made, it remains unclear whether drivers will accept and use the new technology, how they’ll choose to use it, and if all the possible legal aspects have been fully understood. Now, research coordinated by the EU-funded L3PILOT project will pave the way for large-scale road tests in Europe and the introduction of automated cars into our daily lives.

‘L3PILOT puts the acceptance of the technology and the experience of the user in the focus of its research,’ says project coordinator Aria Etemad of Volkswagen AG in Germany. ‘First, we’ll create a Europe-wide, harmonised testing environment for automated driving, and we’ll then be ready to carry out extensive operational tests on public roads.’

10 countries, 1 000 cars

The project will use 1 000 drivers across 10 European countries to test a huge range of everyday driving situations, from parking and motorway driving to navigating the complex intersections of inner cities. It will be the first project in the world to implement and test real-life automated driving so comprehensively, and the data gathered will help the European automotive sector remain competitive in the face of fierce competition from Asia and the United States.

Bringing together car manufacturers, suppliers, research institutes, universities and small and mid-sized companies, the extensive work of L3PILOT will test the viability of AD by evaluating the system’s technical robustness, cyber-security, user acceptance, driving behaviour and the impact on traffic and safety. Ultimately, the project’s work will answer the question of whether AD is both safe and efficient.

Once methodology for piloting, testing and evaluating the in-car AD systems has been established, legal issues have been explored, data management tools have been created and cyber-security has been set up, research teams will get self-driving cars out on the roads.

Your on-demand chauffeur

The functions to be tested include:

  • Motorway Chauffeur, which covers high-speed driving – up to 130kph – and will automatically change lanes to maintain progress.
  • Traffic Jam Chauffeur, which can be activated by the driver in areas of congestion.
  • Urban Chauffeur, which will identify and react to traffic lights and other road users.
  • Parking Chauffeur, which can handle the final stages of the drive to a parking space and the manoeuvre itself, with the driver in or out of the car.

L3PILOT is focusing on the acceptance of the technology and the user experience in its research. Researchers will examine the preconceptions, fears and likelihood of use from people of a variety of backgrounds and comparing the data based on gender, age and cultural differences.

Three waves of surveys from the public in six countries will offer in-depth insights into attitudes towards AD. The team say this will lead to the optimal design and handling of AD functions and will generate knowledge about the most effective way to implement such systems.

‘We’re studying different phenomena ranging from driver reactions to societal-level impacts and analysing in detail the performance and effects of automated driving functions,’ says Etemad. ‘Then, we’ll be able to provide conclusions and make recommendations for the deployment of automated driving applications.’

Project details

  • Project acronym: L3Pilot
  • Participants: Germany (Coordinator), Italy, UK, France, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Greece, Austria
  • Project N°: 723051
  • Total costs: € 46 684 871
  • EU contribution: € 35 960 979
  • Duration: September 2017 to August 2021

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