Self Driving Track Days: While today's automotive LiDARs and Radars are still unable to provide a required 300-500m range, the autonomous driving algorithms need to be tested and ready for the future fully-capable LiDARs. The UK company offers a solution:
Babbacombe Model Village (www.model-village.co.uk), in Torbay, Devon, has joined forces with a driverless technology training startup in an innovative bid for grant funding from the UK Government.
The funding will be used to upgrade the road infrastructure at Babbacombe Model Village, to provide facilities to test driverless vehicle technology, as well as provide charging facilities for companies also developing small low-carbon vehicles.
“The biggest benefit”, says General Manager Simon Wills, “is that we can offer everything that the big test facilities can offer, but at 1/12th of the cost… that’s great for all the companies working on the technology, but it’s also great news for the taxpayer, and could really help us attract business from overseas.”
The Model Village, which has stood for more than half a century, boasts more than 400 buildings, and includes village and city settings, shopping areas and a variety of types of public transport in a small space.
Alex Lawrence-Berkeley, of driverless technology training company Self Driving Track Days (www.selfdrivingtrackdays.com), said he was excited about the project’s potential. “What most people across the industry recognise is that developing, and more importantly testing, driverless vehicle technology is really complicated.”
“We regularly work with companies developing technologies used in driverless cars around the world through our vehicle perception training and events, and those companies are crying out for a lower-cost approach. The great thing about a lot of this technology is a considerable percentage of it can be developed and tested on scale-model vehicles.”
“UK government is investing heavily in this area, so we are really pleased to be able to help the taxpayer achieve the best possible value for money by taking a fresh approach.”
Update: This is (was) April's Fool post.