A consortium of 29 firms including most major automakers has commenced a research project that will look into the requirements for autonomous driving. Called AdaptIVe (Automated Driving Applications & Technologies for Intelligent Vehicles), the research project is taking place in Volkswagen’s home town of Wolfsburg and will run for 42 months.

VW joins other automakers in the research project including BMW, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault and Volvo.

The benefit of autonomous cars, researchers say, is improved safety, due to reduced human error. However, autonomous cars are also expected to make traffic move more efficiently, reducing travel time and fuel use.

AdaptIVe will look at all technologies related to autonomous driving including onboard vehicle sensors as well as car-2-car and car-2-infrastructure communication. Just this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that it wanted cars to be fitted with similar technology.

Over the planned 42-month duration of AdaptIVe, the partners will develop and test new functionalities for cars and trucks, offering both partially autonomous and fully autonomous driving on motorways, in urban scenarios, and parking situations.

Seven cars and one truck will be used to demonstrate various combinations of automated functions. In addition to addressing technology development aspects, the project will also explore legal implications for manufacturers and drivers--in particular regarding product liability and road traffic laws.

In 2011, many of the same partners finished a similar European project called HAVEit (Highly Automated Vehicles for intelligent transport) that helped lead to semi-autonomous systems available today like Continental’s Traffic Jam Assistant.


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