evolvAD will put the Nissan LEAF self driving car through its paces on a variety of urban residential and complex rural roads taking data from infrastructure.
This follows the ServCity Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) project testing self driving cars in London and will look to develop new V2I technologies to further support the deployment of autonomous drive vehicles.
Residential and rural roads present a unique set of challenges for AD technology. For example, in residential areas, drivers often face narrows roads, single lanes with parked vehicles on either side and slow driving speeds. Rural roads can include similar conditions but with higher driving speeds and winding roads with little to no road markings.  
“In our previous research projects, our AD team and partners have tackled highways and complex city environments. Now we move onto our next challenge – built up residential streets and rural roads,” said Robert Bateman, evolvAD Project Manager and Manager of Nissan’s Research and Advanced Engineering team, Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE),
“To bring autonomous driving to market, we must test and trial the technology on as many different road types as possible and that’s why projects like evolvAD are so important.  Ultimately, we want to make driving cleaner, safer and more inclusive for everyone and we look forward to working with our consortium partners to deliver that.”
Over the next 21 months, the evolvAD project will use the combined expertise of the five partners – Nissan,  Connected Places Catapult, Humanising Autonomy, SBD Automotive and TRL – to technically support UK supply chain readiness for future mass deployment of AD technologies in the UK.
This has several focus areas designed to advance the UK’s self driving car capability including Nissan’s work to trial advanced AD technology in built-up residential areas in collaboration with TRL.
The project will be able to use CCTV in residential areas to provide information to the car to improve situational awareness, creating a test study on how vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) technologies can be used to enhance the performance of CAVs.
Nissan will also trial the self driving car technology on complex rural roads and explore what transport opportunities autonomous mobility can provide to A roads and minor roads that are mostly found within rural and intercity communities. 
Commencing in July 2023, the project is already underway in the development phase, using 100% electric Nissan LEAFs as the test vehicles. The vehicles will be tested in simulation and on private test tracks before the evolvAD CAVs are put through their paces on live roads in the coming months.
Humanising Autonomy develops perception and behaviour estimation capability for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists while SBD Automotive provides on board cyber security and advanced safety cases. TRL is developing vehicle system validation processes utilising infrastructure on the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) testbed
Through evolvAD, Nissan will further enhance its self driving car technology and capability by testing and trialling it in other environments, building on the success of the previous HumanDrive and ServCity projects.
The start of the project comes as NTCE, Nissan’s European R&D headquarters based in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, celebrates 35 years of engineering excellence in the UK this year.
“We are extremely proud to be a part of the evolvAD project in the UK, working alongside some brilliant partners to test and trial our technology further,” said David Moss, Senior Vice President, Region Research & Development for Nissan AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania).
“Through Nissan Ambition 2030 we want to empower mobility for everyone, and autonomous drive technologies are critical to this effort as they offer huge benefits in terms of vehicle safety, environmental impact and accessibility. As we celebrate 35 years of NTCE in the UK, we’re excited to get going with this next project that will help ensure we continue to deliver technology of the future that truly benefits our customers.”
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