Bristol City Council’s City Innovation team was part of the multi-million pound Flourish research and development project investigating the roll out of Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) in the UK. The project included a wide range of business, academic, charity and public sector organisations including Age UK, Airbus and Bristol Robotics Laboratory.
Flourish allowed the council to experience these cutting edge technologies first hand in order to be able to prepare for their advent. By working with leading social science researchers at Traverse and the Centre for Transport & Society we have had access to research about people’s readiness and trust for adopting CAVs.
The project has also explored a number of the fundamental building blocks of CAVs: citywide traffic modelling, Vehicle to Infrastructure communication and Human Machine Interfaces, as well as investigating Human State Monitoring of participants, Artificial Intelligence aspects of CAVs and the legal and insurance implications of CAVs.
As part of Flourish Aimsun – one of the world’s leading suppliers of traffic modelling software – adapted its modelling tools to include CAVs to understand what effect they could have on the highway network.
Bristol has a long and distinguished reputation for wireless communication and CAV communication is the logical next step. University of Bristol and Dynniq tested a variety of Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) setups to see how they performed in real world tests. The University of Bristol setup tested new G5 (sic) technology – essentially “wifi for cars” – at a number of different frequencies as well as developing a new concept called “fog computing” which is like cloud computing but brings the processing power nearer to the vehicles to reduce latency.
Designability and the Transport Systems Catapult worked with Bristol Robotics Lab to equip a driverless pod developed by Coventry-based Aurrigo to allow participants to communicate with the vehicle by both tablet touchscreen and voice control. The lessons learnt will be valuable in designing the Human Machine Interfaces of the future.
There has been significant interest from around the country and abroad in the technologies and social research done by Flourish including significant media coverage, a ministerial visit and a number of papers published in prestigious academic journals. The project culminated in a successful demonstration of the Aurrigo “Pod Zero” at the St Monica retirement village in Bristol which resulted in major media interest.