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How the LAMBDA-V project could help make driverless cars more human

How the LAMBDA-V project could help make driverless cars more human

Whilst driverless cars are advancing rapidly they’ve got a long way to go before they can understand and embrace the unwritten rules of human driving behaviour. David Fowler looks at how the LAMBDA-V project is developing the technology to help this happen.

Last month the government announced moves to update regulations for testing autonomous vehicles, aiming to pave the way to allow fully self-driving vehicles to be introduced on UK roads by 2021.

Observers believe that cars that will be able to steer, brake and accelerate by themselves on sections of motorway could become a reality within a few years.

But what about driving on the residential streets near your home: when will an autonomous vehicle (AV) be able to manage that without human intervention? How often do you find yourself in a situation where the rules governing driving – a combination of the law and the Highway Code – don’t really apply, and you have to use your own judgement? What will AVs do in such situations? The kind of every-day driving scenario that could confuse an autonomous vehicle A new project, LAMBDA-V (Learning through AMBient Driving styles for Autonomous Vehicles), is looking into that question. Starting last November, a one-year £244,000 feasibility study, with funding from Innovate UK, is collecting data from “ambient” driver behaviour to see whether it can be codified into a set of rules for AVs to follow.

The project is led by machine learning specialist CloudMade, with telematics and Big Data analytics firm Trakm8, traffic modelling specialist Aimsun (a Siemens company), and Birmingham City Council, which wants to know what the implications will be for how its road network is operated. Andy Graham of White Willow Consulting is project manager.

An observed drive Graham took from his home to the M25 illustrates why the project is needed. […]

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