New driverless pod coming to West of England

Innovation
10 May, 16 by Matthew Cockburn

The VENTURER consortium has recently announced that it will collaborate with Westfield Sportscars Ltd to deliver the next phase of its research and development programme, which is scheduled to commence in July 2016.

The UK sports car manufacturer will supply the Ultra Pod self-driving prototype, to be piloted as part of the project’s work in advancing autonomous mobility.

The innovative partnership is expected to capitalise on the Pod’s unique design and technological advances. This will allow for further analysis to be conducted using state-of-art 3D imaging and localisation sensors, developed by Fusion Processing, for navigation and collision avoidance.

With the application of Fusion’s intelligent sensors, it is expected that the vehicle will operate without the need for a Guideway, therefore enabling it to be trialled in public spaces in the region.

Jim Hutchinson, Founder and CEO of Fusion Processing, said: “We are delighted to be working with Westfield Sportscars on this project. The Ultra Pod, with Fusion’s technology and Westfield’s engineering expertise will make for a winning combination – proving a great vehicle for the trials and a solid platform for a commercially successful product.”

The Ultra Pod, as operated at Heathrow, will be integrated into the public acceptance trials which are designed to assess people’s response to Autonomous Vehicle technology.

Julian Turner, CEO at Westfield Sportscars, commented: “The UK is in an excellent position to become a world leader in this field. It will lead to the generation of new opportunities and highly skilled jobs across the country keeping the UK at the forefront of this technology. The VENTURER project will provide public confidence that proper safeguards are in place for citizens and road users alike. The trials will go a long way to understand the needs of the range of users of this exciting means of mobility.  We are very much looking forward to working with the consortium and feel privileged that they have chosen to work with the team at Westfield.”

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