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Driverless car project researches advances in vehicle connectivity

Professor Robert Piechocki's work on the project has been focusing on the roadside and digital infrastructure and the level of connectivity required for driverless cars to respond to real-time traffic events.

12 March 2019

The £5.5m FLOURISH driverless car project has successfully completed the latest phase of its investigations into the requirements of the cyber-physical infrastructure of the future.

Pioneered by the University of Bristol, a member of the FLOURISH consortium, the findings of this research give new insights into the ability of connected vehicles to communicate with each component in the system, including other connected vehicles and the roadside and digital infrastructure.

Robert Piechocki, Professor of Wireless Systems at the University of Bristol, said: “Digitally connected vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the cities we live in and the way we travel. Our research into the optimum conditions for the robust, effective and resilient transfer of data is the cornerstone of a new customer journey experience.”

The FLOURISH car trials explore the minimum conditions needed for data to be effectively transferred. They focus on the level of connectivity required to communicate with integrity, to respond to real-time traffic events and to identify if the source of information is trustworthy. With its varied topography, the results proven in Bristol are directly transferrable to other cities across the country, in both even and more challenging terrain. The project is testing ever more complex scenarios to assure the recommendations it makes and their application elsewhere.

Professor Piechocki adds: “By enabling the management of a network of driverless cars, we can help transport authorities to improve road safety, ease congestion and tackle the challenge of improving air quality, by offering a genuine alternative to manually driven cars.”

In addition, the project is also exploring the potential for connected and autonomous vehicles to communicate with each other and the surrounding infrastructure using frequencies typically associated with WiFi. Usually seen as an enabler of indoor connectivity, its low frequencies can enable data to be effectively transmitted for longer distances.

The FLOURISH team will release its final findings for data transfer and secure communications in May 2019.

Further information

FLOURISH is a multi-sector collaboration, helping to advance the successful implementation of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in the UK, by developing services and capabilities that link user needs and system requirements.

The three-year project, worth £5.5 million, seeks to develop products and services that maximise the benefits of CAVs for users and transport authorities.

FLOURISH is co-funded by UK GovernmentThe FLOURISH consortium is led by Atkins (a member of the SNC-Lavalin group) and consists of Age UK, Aimsun, Airbus Group Innovations, AXA UK, Bristol City Council, Cardiff University, Designability, Dynniq, React AI, South Gloucestershire Council, Transport Systems Catapult, Traverse, University of Bristol and University of the West of England, with support from Burges Salmon LLP and Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

Read the FLOURISH reports

Watch the FLOURISH film, showing how the project works with older adults

Find out more about FLOURISH by exploring their project website

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