VENTURER Alliance

VENTURER Alliance

The VENTURER Alliance is a collaborative partnership which has been created to continue the pioneering work of the innovative £5-million government co-funded VENTURER research and development project. Launched in July 2018 and made up of the original founding members of the project, the VENTURER Alliance offers proven expertise and a commitment to working with industry and government to take the next steps towards connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) implementation.

To achieve this, the Alliance leverages the expertise and capabilities acquired during the project’s investigations into the barriers to the adoption of CAVs in the UK, to offer customers a diverse portfolio of services. These services span numerous disciplines including technology, human factors, social research, legal and insurance. They include both individual and collective expertise to:

  • Support the ongoing design, testing, trialling, integration and deployment of CAVs on the UK transport network.
  • Explore the potential impact of CAVs on UK society and infrastructure.

This breadth and depth of expertise means that the Alliance is well placed to understand how the different elements of the CAV proposition fit together and what is required to progress further towards the goal of deploying CAVs on UK roads.

Its unique integrated end-to-end service offer includes:

Trial services to enable the safe testing of CAVs

  • Access to an independent controlled urban test environment, equipped with technology to enable vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and a fully programmable vehicle-to-everything platform.
  • Public road test support, facilitated alongside and with experience and knowledge from local highway authorities, in accordance with the Department for Transport’s Code of Practice for CAV testing, utilising our significant experience and knowledge of the safe trialling of CAV technology on controlled and open road networks.
  • Access to SAE Level 3+ CAVs to facilitate complex CAV trial services.

Technology to support the testing and development of CAVs in digitally simulated and real-world scenarios

  • A CAV simulator to complement the urban test environment, allowing both virtual and physical testing and
  • SAE Level 3+ CAVs to support testing and demonstration of technology, as well as user behavioural response analysis.
  • Intelligent sensing and situational awareness technology for CAVs, to enable vehicles to be partially or fully autonomous.
  • A complete Autonomous Vehicle Control System.
  • Sensor integration services for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Advisory capabilities to support and enable the deployment of CAVs

  • Consultancy services related to CAVs, including CAV modelling and advice on the integration of CAVs within the wider transport system.
  • User behavioural response analysis and social research.
  • Insurance expertise, including CAV liability and data ownership issues.
  • Legal expertise to support the establishment of robust laws to enable the safe integration of CAVs.
  • Access to local authority support for inward investment and to the local CAV cluster

To learn more, or enquire about the services and capabilities offered by the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

Partners Involved in the VENTURER Alliance

Click on the logos below to find out about the capabilities and services offered by each partner in the VENTURER Alliance.

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Bristol has extensive experience in a wide range of underpinning technologies for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).  Our research addresses fundamental challenges and novel methods for both connectivity and autonomy, making impact across scales from individual vehicle control to intelligent transport networks.

The University of Bristol offers capabilities in the following areas:

Autonomous systems: Our research portfolio includes a wide range of technologies such as advanced control systems, artificial intelligence, navigation, planning, multi-agent systems, simulation and verification. Our internationally-leading researchers tackle challenges such as handling cluttered dynamic environments, safe operation around humans, and scalability of autonomous systems.  We operate extensive facilities, including CAVs, drones and various robotic platforms, including many shared with the University of the West of England (UWE) through our joint Bristol Robotics Laboratory partnership.

V2X Connectivity: We are the only UK organisation that has its own fully programmable V2X platform. The units developed by the Communications Systems and Network (CSN) team provide 802.11p and ITS-G5 fully programmable solutions in both hardware and software. The system is also designed to provide a testing platform for new security, privacy and trust mechanisms. This gives us a unique ability to investigate real life performance and limitations of V2X systems. We also develop advanced 5G mapping and large scale network simulation tools.

Collaboration: The University of Bristol greatly values collaborative research, exemplified by its work in the VENTURER project.  Our researchers routinely work in cross-disciplinary teams to bring together new capabilities and understand their societal impact, engaging with partners from academia and industry.

Education: Together with UWE, University of Bristol runs the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Autonomous Robotic Systems (FARSCOPE).  This offers a four-year PhD programme spanning a range of topics in robotics and autonomous systems, including opportunities to work on CAV technology.  There is also a joint MSc programme in Robotics offering the same range of training and research topics in a single year of study.

To enquire about the CAV related services and capabilities which the University of Bristol can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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Bristol and South Gloucestershire have experience in supporting public road testing for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), gained on VENTURER and other projects. Both Bristol and South Gloucestershire encourage and facilitate such road testing, in accordance with the Department for Transport’s Code of Practice for CAV testing. They also bring their experience as highway authorities to guide CAV testing and development.

Bristol City Council has a proud history of supporting new transport technologies and encouraging new approaches where they benefit the residents of the area. It has extensive assets and expertise which can support the technology development occurring in the area. These include its involvement in Bristol Is Open – a high speed Software Defined Network – and its recently upgraded Operations Centre, which thanks to its state of the art hardware and software allows fast access to data about how the city is operating.

There are also opportunities around making better use of existing transport models of the city to provide CAVs with better understanding of the city as well as using historic count data to allow better understanding of how the network will operate under different circumstances. A further strength for the region is its increasing use of open data, including in the field of transport, which opens up possibilities for the “rules of the road” to be made available to CAVs in machine readable formats in future. Thanks to its programme of supporting sustainable transport through projects like Go Ultra Low West it is also providing another level of support to the development of CAVs as these are likely to be increasingly combined with electric powertrains.

To enquire about the CAV related services and capabilities which the Bristol and South Gloucestershire region can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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AXA UK (AXA) is part of the AXA Group, a worldwide leader in financial services. AXA has 11 million customers in the UK. Globally, AXA operates in 64 countries with over 165,000 employees and 103 million customers.

AXA UK is part of five Government backed driverless cars projects and is leading the way to ensure that insurance is an enabler of this potentially life-saving technology.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which AXA can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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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.

Between CTS and the Psychological Sciences Research Group, UWE has the capability to provide a full range of user, citizen, and stakeholder-oriented research.

UWE is able to:

  1. Measure and evaluate human behavioural responses to connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in experimental conditions (both real world and simulated) including by CAV occupants or humans interacting with CAVs through the various other forms of mobility, including walking, cycling and conventionally-driven vehicles.
  2. Undertake and analyse public perceptions of and expectations about CAVs, as potential users, or citizens through methods such as quantitative surveys and travel diaries.
  3. Undertake and analyse simulated and real-world behavioural studies of travel behaviour, such as, but not limited to: willingness to pay, willingness to share, service preferences within a Mobility-as-as-Service environment
  4. Arrange and conduct research and knowledge exchange workshops with member of the public, special interest groups (e.g. such as older citizens) and stakeholders in various formats (individual interviews, focus groups, deliberative workshops, co-design events.
  5. Analyse the wider sustainability and transport policy implications of CAV adoption.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which UWE Bristol can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business is one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies. Atkins has extensive experience managing the design and delivery of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) trials in the UK. Our team combines project management and consultancy services to enable our clients to thrive in the market for CAVs and associated technologies.

Atkins offers capabilities in the following areas:

  1. CAV project management: As one of the world’s leading project management consultancies, we manage programmes of all scales and sizes. Through portfolio management techniques, Atkins successfully managed the first driverless car research and development project in the UK, leading a consortium of 10 organisation. In addition to project management, Atkins’ role included guiding CAV trial planning, leading exploitation and dissemination activities and coordinating of data processing, analysis, and reporting.
  2. Leading multi-sector collaborations: Working collaboratively to harness capabilities across the private, public and academic sectors to deliver growth in a new market. Atkins is certified to BS11000, the collaborative business relationships standard. By working closely with our clients, we are able to take ownership of their challenges and deliver positive results with long-term benefits.
  3. CAV modelling: Atkins worked with the Department for Transport to model the impact of CAVs on the UK road network to understand and quantify how CAVs will affect road capacity, ranging from traffic lights to motorways and accounting for different technologies. Atkins has helped to shaped government’s thinking on a number of issues from safety policy to road construction.
  4. CAV advisory services: For over 75 years, Atkins has provided a full scope of transport solutions for clients across the globe. This allows us to advise on existing and future transport developments including digital transformation and the impact of transport technologies on the road network.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which Atkins can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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Fusion Processing is a leader in situational awareness and autonomous vehicle control systems technology. Fusion has a range of standard products and can also design bespoke components and complete systems to match a customer’s need. Design is all done by Fusion in Bristol. Many systems are in service today increasing road safety, enabling smart traffic management and providing navigation and collision solutions. Fusion has world leading radar and vision processing expertise which can reliably detect Vulnerable Road Users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

Fusion’s sensor technology was used and tested in the VENTURER project and has been chosen for other UK autonomous vehicle projects. The learning, experience and test data gained from participating in VENTURER helped Fusion to add significant capability to the CAVstar® product. Fusion has also benefitted from close collaborative relationships with VENTURER partners.

Fusion offers the following connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies:

CAVstar® – A Level 5 autonomous vehicle sensing and control system, with the following features:

  • A complete CAV system including sensors and central controller.
  • Real time navigation and path planning.
  • Object detection, collision avoidance.
  • CAN bus interface for vehicle control.
  • Adaptable to multiple vehicle types.
  • Compact, high performance, low power solutions.
  • Flexible architecture- allows integration with bespoke and 3rd party HMI, FMS and other systems.

CycleEye® – An intelligent cyclist detection/driver warning for vehicles, with the following features:

  • Standalone cyclist detection system with audio warning.
  • Robust housing and vehicle mount – for challenging conditions.
  • Dedicated hardware and software.
  • Radar and low light camera technology.
  • Excellent detection performance, day and night, in all weathers.
  • Intelligence built into the unit ensures false alarms are avoided.

TrafficTrak® – A modal roadside traffic analyser, with the following features:

  • Post or gantry mount with integral camera for live view.
  • Vehicle flow and cyclist counter.
  • Event logger.
  • Low power consumption with a solar power option.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which Fusion can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

 

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Bristol and South Gloucestershire have experience in supporting public road testing for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), gained on VENTURER and other projects. Both Bristol and South Gloucestershire encourage and facilitate such road testing, in accordance with the Department for Transport’s Code of Practice for CAV testing. They also bring their experience as highway authorities to guide CAV testing and development.

South Gloucestershire Council has gained experience from participation in various CAV R&D Projects to help inform the council’s own aspirations around supporting autonomous technology, in both highway and non-highway environments. New modes of transport (especially for first mile/last mile) will increasingly utilise such technologies, potentially creating more efficient, safer and economical ways for businesses, visitors and commuters to travel. This is critical to the successful and sustainable delivery of new commercial and residential schemes that South Gloucestershire is home to (such as Filton Airfield).

A shift away from personally-owned modes of transportation and towards mobility solutions that are consumed as a service, have the potential to radically transform the transport system in the longer-term future. South Gloucestershire is keen to explore where synergies may exist between public transport services and commercial models. Furthermore, we can provide spheres for testing new CAV technologies in campus environments that may also have scope to be supported by R&D communications networks. The council’s Open to Innovation culture allows it to catalyse collaborations between relevant parties thus fast tracking the relationship building process and increasing the livelihood for CAV technologies to progress through Technology Readiness Levels.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which the Bristol and South Gloucestershire region can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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Williams Advanced Engineering Limited operates a technology and engineering services business and is part of the Williams Group.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

Connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies offer potentially transformative traffic impacts. However, testing and acceptance by authorities and the general public is still a challenge to address to enable mass CAV production and adoption. To ensure the safety of CAVs, rigorous tests are required: realistic test environments and test subjects; large scenario pools, critical situations and extreme cases. The virtual simulation platform is the most commonly-used tool for CAV evaluation. Testing methodologies, such as hardware-in-the-loop simulation (HIL), software-in-the-loop-simulation (SIL) and augmented reality, combine the advantages of both simulation and field testing.

Vehicle Simulators

Williams is one of a small number of racing teams to have developed its own advanced simulator programme. Since 2001, Williams has pioneered state-of-the-art simulation technologies in order to create virtual and predictive engineering tools to improve its real world racing performance. It has developed a comprehensive driver-in-the-loop (DIL), HIL and SIL simulation platform.

Much of the technology is proprietary, from the physics engine that underpins the simulation to the integration of vehicle models and hardware interfaces. The extended focal length screen technology, control interfaces and advanced audio provide a highly immersive sensory environment for the driver.

A variety of enabling technologies, techniques and software tools have been developed to enable this, such as processing laser point cloud data to generate high fidelity models of real environments such as racetracks.

Motion Platform

Williams has also developed the latest state-of-the-art motion system. This system is a leading technology in motion platform systems with high bandwidth capability. The technology is believed to be a significant step-change in the overall envelope of movement and sensitivity of incremental accuracy, when compared to known commercial alternatives.

The main consideration of this motion platform is ‘onset’ cueing whereby the driver feels the onset of oversteer, Williams believes this is key to next generation high level simulators necessary for CAV testing.

Connected Vehicles – Electrification

The global automotive mega trends of safer, greener, more comfortable, connected, electrified and automated vehicles all heavily rely on electrical interconnection and sensor technology. Williams are also looking at putting diagnostic sensors onto vehicles/infrastructures such as batteries and composite materials for development of connected vehicles. On a vehicle-internal level Williams is looking at the strategy of interconnecting a large number of electronic control units (ECUs) and sensorsto facilitate new and more sophisticated functionality.

Williams have developed its own battery management system (BMS) for control of automotive batteries on a number of development platforms. Williams Advanced Engineering won a 2018 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for its application in road vehicles of learning from providing the batteries powering the FIA Formula E grid since the inception of the championship.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which Williams Advanced Engineering can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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In the UK, BAE Systems is at the forefront in the development, manufacture and operation of unmanned vehicles. Over the last decade, a number of unmanned vehicles have been developed to provide industry, both military and civil, with a set of validated software modules that enable autonomous vehicle navigation. One of the platforms, an autonomous vehicle called Wildcat, was used during the VENTURER project, utilising its capability of autonomous navigation over unstructured environments and its built-in validation mechanism for trialling new sensors and new algorithms before they are deployed onto the target vehicle.

The BAE Systems’ Wildcat is a Bowler Wildcat Rally Vehicle modified to be driverless, supporting modes of remote control and full autonomy. The vehicle holds a full safety case with insurance for trials on public roads with safety limited speed of 30 mph. For safety purposes, the platform incorporates a safety mechanism to ensure that control of the system can be returned to an on-board safety driver at any time or a remotely triggered emergency brake (if the driver is not present and operating on a private track).

The vehicle software, known as the autonomous system architecture, uses a multi-frame navigation methodology which means the vehicle can sense where it is in relation to other objects. The architecture supports a number of sensors that can provide complementary position information in different coordinate frames. Currently, the Wildcat is equipped with the following sensors: 3D Velodyne LiDAR, 2D LiDAR sensor, GPS system, cameras and vehicle telemetry data. The software components are designed to be modular and distributed to support easy testing and comparison of different sensor types in different configurations providing a vehicle agnostic solution that can be transferred to any (remote control) vehicle.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which BAE Systems can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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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 Bristol and the University of Bristol, with 100 academics and industry practitioners, working on all areas of robotics and autonomous systems.

BRL can provide access to a range of testing environments and connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) capabilities including:

  1. An on-campus independent controlled urban test environment, equipped with technology to enable vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. This testing environment is independent of all commercial vehicle manufacturers, so as to remove any barriers to potential customer approaches. Within the test environment it is possible to test both a vehicle’s components, and human participant reactions or performance. The test environment is made up from over 2 km of urban roadway and junctions on private, and thereby access-controlled, two-lane carriageway. That testing area is covered by a private 5G-ready advanced wireless communications infrastructure, which is also connected to a driving simulator. This wireless communications infrastructure can allow for testing of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.
  2. A public road, some of which is alongside University on-campus access roads, for which there is permission to undertake controlled-conditions or conventional open-road vehicle testing.
  3. A fully equipped vehicle simulator wherein participants can sit in a real vehicle of various categories (e.g. car or Pod) as a surrounding simulation enacts driving and environmental interactions in both manually-driven and autonomous modes. The simulator is set up to allow customer components to be interfaced with it so that testing and assessment of customer’s introduced hardware or software components can be carried out, such as individual sensors, low-level processing and/or control and decision-making systems. It is also possible to set up a 1-to-1 simulation environmental match between the simulator and the on-campus test site. BRL offers the simulator in co-ordination with partners, including Williams.
  4. Three types of SAE L3+ to L5 CAVs and their Autonomous Control Systems, which are available for whole vehicle testing or to allow assessment of a customer’s individual components on the road network described above. These vehicles include the BAE System’s Wildcat, a number of converted Renault Twizy vehicles and a Westfield POD. BRL offers these vehicles in co-ordination with partners, including BAE Systems and Williams.

Using these overall combined facilities, a customer can move smoothly from ‘simulation-only’ testing, to ‘customer hardware/software in the simulation loop’ testing and finally ‘real-world road’ testing in controlled or uncontrolled conditions, either using a customer’s own vehicles or with their components added to the Wildcat, Twizy or Pod.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which BRL can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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Burges Salmon delivers technical excellence and commercially astute advice to both the public and private sectors. Our Transport Technology and Intelligent Mobility team combines the experience and expertise to help clients unlock the opportunities of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology and systems. We advise on a wide range of CAV-related aspects including policy and regulation, joint ventures, insurance, app-based services, supply chain management, intellectual property, data protection and cyber security.

We are the supporting legal partner for several government-funded CAV projects – VENTURER, FLOURISH, CAPRI and ROBOPILOT. Our involvement in these pilot and assessment projects has put us at the forefront of legal developments and thinking on CAV technology and its uses. As part of our work on VENTURER we have worked with AXA to produce three reports on the legal and insurance implications of CAVs. Through our involvement with the FLOURISH project we have also reported with Axa on the data and cyber-security aspects of CAVs.

Our Transport sector team is one of the largest and broadest in the country and acts for leading stakeholders across all the different transport modes. We regularly advise a wide range of sector parties and engage with our clients from policy level through to operational realities. Our work is at the cutting edge and includes advising on multi-modal solutions, smart ticketing, digitalisation and new technology.

We also have the UK market leading team in Energy and Renewables and are working with a wide variety of funders, operators and service providers enabling the transition to electric vehicles and other low carbon transport solutions.

To enquire about the connected and autonomous vehicle related services and capabilities which Burges Salmon can offer through the VENTURER Alliance, please email: Enquiries@VENTURER-cars.com.

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Supporting Partners