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About

VENTURER brings together a rich partnership of public, private and academic experts in order to establish the South West, UK as a world class test site facility for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV). VENTURER focuses on the users as well as the technology enabling CAVs in order to understand the blockers and drivers to wide scale adoption of CAV capability.

The VENTURER trials go hand in hand with developing an understanding of the insurance and legal implications of increased vehicle autonomy. VENTURER is also establishing a realistic simulation environment.

The project will last for three years and takes place in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire region, with an independent test site established as part of a sustainable and ongoing facility.

The project is co-funded by UK Government.

FAQ

There are a number of unique challenges to overcome. Here are some frequently asked questions about driverless vehicles.

Isn’t Google already miles ahead?

No. Google is taking one approach to creating autonomous vehicles, but this is not the only way. Many companies in the UK are looking at utilising technologies in a more cost effective way as well as considering wider issues such as insurance implications.

Will driverless cars be tested on public roads?

Yes. As part of VENTURER it is intended to have an autonomous vehicle deployed in a controlled and measurable way in a real urban environment, as part of our testing and validation work.

How safe are Autonomous Vehicles?

Human error is a factor in over 90% of deaths and injuries on our roads. CAV looks to reduce this significantly. The vehicles will be required to respect all traffic laws – observing all speed limits and traffic signals. They will not tailgate other drivers or undertake risky manoeuvres. The full positive impact associated with CAV will be understood in time.

What are the benefits of CAV?

Autonomous vehicle technology offers enormous opportunities to positively influence road safety, congestion, air quality, climate change and social inclusion, whilst also delivering the government’s growth agenda.

What are the insurance implications of driverless cars?

Data will underpin the new insurance models and charging schemes that will come as part of this evolving marketplace. It is clear that if improved safety capability leads to reduced accidents then insurance costs should come down. However, intelligent data models and market awareness must be factored in also.

How

The VENTURER project is focused very much with the end in mind i.e. the behaviours that will drive adoption and the insurance and legislative perspectives that must be developed in order to facilitate successful deployment on the roads. In addition, the project will look to exploit UK leading wireless technology as part of the sensor fusion and in parallel develop a virtual as well as a physical test capability.

Partners

The VENTURER consortium is made up of organisations from various sectors:

The University of Bristol’s Communications Systems & Networks Group (CSN) combines fundamental research with a high level of industrial application in wireless communications. Recent work in transportation includes a First Great Western funded project on High Capacity Future Communications with Trains; a Jaguar Land Rover funded project on Vehicle Communications; and the recently funded Innovate UK project FLOURISH. 

Role

The University of Bristol provides V2X communications expertise.

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Bristol City Council is the local authority of Bristol, the eighth most populous city in the UK and one of Britain’s ten ‘Core Cities’. Bristol was the 2015 European Green Capital and has a strong reputation as a leading sustainable city in the UK and Europe. The Bristol region has many leading companies in creative media, electronics and aerospace industries including Aardman Animations, Toshiba and Airbus. Bristol has made a clear commitment to create a world-class and inclusive green-digital economy. It aims to use smart technologies and digital connectivity to meet the city’s environmental, social and economic challenges and opportunities.

Role

Bristol City Council provides access to public roads and local road network intelligence.

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AXA UK (AXA) is part of the AXA Group, a worldwide leader in financial services. AXA Group operates in 56 Countries with over 157,000 employees and 102 million customers. AXA has around 11 million customers in the UK and operates through several operating companies. AXA currently has around 1.5 million motor insurance policies across its businesses.
AXA’s internal working group on driverless vehicles comprises underwriting, regulatory, public affairs, and external communications support.

Role

AXA provides insurance and legal expertise.

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Part of the First Group, a leader in road and rail transport. First Bristol provides public transport to the cities of Bristol and Bath. 1700 staff, including 1300 drivers, and 558 vehicles carry 45M passengers and travel 23M miles each year. 

Role 

As part of the work being done around driver assistance technologies, First Bus is providing a bus as a means of collecting data. 

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The University of the West of England’s Centre for Transport and Society (CTS) specialises in understanding the interactions between mobility, lifestyles and society in a context of technological change. Driverless vehicles are relevant to all seven of our focus areas: technologies; environment; car-society interactions; inclusive, low carbon travel; mobility and the ageing population; sustainable mobility strategies; influences on attitudes and behaviours.

Role

The University of the West of England is responsible for conducting research into public expectations, acceptance and response to driverless vehicles.

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Atkins is one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies. We build long-term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas.

Atkins’ Intelligent Mobility business is designed to help clients translate and navigate a new way of thinking about how to connect people, places and goods across all transport modes; and how to utilise technology and data on the road, rail and public transport networks to inform decision making and enable behavioural change. 

Role

Atkins is lead partner of the VENTURER consortium providing project co-ordination, delivery and intelligent mobility expertise. 

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Fusion Processing Ltd is a privately held technology company, designing intelligent systems that combine advanced processing techniques with the inputs of radar sensors, image sensors and other devices. Our team includes experts in radar processing, image processing, vehicle systems and vehicle operations. Fusion Processing has developed proprietary techniques and Intellectual Property to provide driver aids with superior situational awareness. 

Role 

Fusion Processing provides intelligent sensing and situational awareness systems.

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South Gloucestershire is one of the largest Unitary Authorities in the South West and is a base for many world-leading companies in key high growth sectors vital to the national economy; such as aerospace, advanced engineering, defence, micro-electronics and semiconductor design. Large technology employers include Airbus in the UK, GKN Aerospace, Rolls Royce and BAE Systems to name but a few. Innovative new companies include Nvidia and Ultra PRT. South Gloucestershire is also home to the Bristol and Bath Science Park, a world class environment for businesses in science and advanced technology.

Role 

South Gloucestershire Council provides access to public roads and local road network intelligence.

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Williams Advanced Engineering is the technology and engineering services business of the Williams Group. We provide world-class technical innovation, engineering, testing, and manufacturing services to deliver energy efficient performance to the automotive, motorsport, transport and energy sectors. We specialise in advanced lightweight materials, hybrid power, cutting edge aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, and holistic integration capabilities. 

Role 

Williams is providing driving simulator expertise.

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BAE Systems is a global defence, aerospace and security company. We provide some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions and employ a skilled workforce of some 83,400 people in over 40 countries. Working with customers and local partners, we develop, engineer, manufacture and support products and systems to deliver military capability, protect national security and people and keep critical information and infrastructure secure. 

Role 

BAE provides the driverless vehicle used for the trials. 

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Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is the most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK, an internationally recognised Centre of Excellence. It is a collaborative partnership between the University of the West of England and the University of  Bristol, with 100 academics and industry practitioners, working on all areas of robotics and autonomous systems.

Role

BRL is hosting the trial centre and providing systems integration and decision-making algorithms.

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Supporting Partner

Burges Salmon is an independent UK law firm delivering the best mix of advice, service and value. Our collaborative culture and transport sector strength allows us to bring our cross-modal experience to solving issues for our clients. We advise in a range of legal areas including connected and autonomous vehicles / driverless cars; smart infrastructure and new technology; data protection and cybercrime; road infrastructure and construction; joint ventures and project delivery.

Role

Providing input on legal and regulatory matters.

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Where

Our first trial took place at the University of the West of England campus during 2016. Further testing and engagement work will take place in South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Centre during 2017 and 2018.

Events

The VENTURER project has already begun! 

The partners are mobilised and we are working hard to develop detailed trial scenarios and validation capability as well as looking at the legal and insurance aspects of CAV. It is an exciting time with a lot of interest from the public. We look forward to engaging and sharing our learnings all through this project and beyond.

News

VENTURER Trial 2 Participant Experiments

During the months of June and July, VENTURER undertook the second tranche of experiments. Trial 2, held at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, involved examining human reactions to the decisions made by an autonomous vehicle at junctions and while interacting with...

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VENTURER Trial 1 Results: Press Release

VENTURER driverless car project publishes results of first trial: ‘Planned handover’ key to development of driverless car technology say researchers VENTURER is the first Connected and Autonomous Vehicle project to start in the UK. The results of VENTURER’s preliminary trials show that...

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Tweets

Publications

VENTURER Trial 1 Results: Planned Handover

The VENTURER consortium’s first trial, completed in the summer of 2016, explored how people interact with autonomous vehicle technology. The trial took place at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and on the roads at the University of the West of England...

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Venturer Economic Impact Briefing

We recently commissioned an Economic Impact Assessment of the VENTURER project to help us assess the scale of direct and indirect impacts, identify global market trends, determine the region’s strengths, estimate the aggregate economic impacts achieved (and potential for the...

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