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Williams Advanced Engineering simulator technology to help trial driverless cars

Williams Advanced Engineering is pleased to announce that it is part of a consortium that has secured government funding from Innovate UK to test driverless cars in the Bristol region. This appointment follows the Chancellor’s recent autumn statement announcement to make the UK a world centre for the testing and development of this new technology. … Continued

Williams Advanced Engineering is pleased to announce that it is part of a consortium that has secured government funding from Innovate UK to test driverless cars in the Bristol region. This appointment follows the Chancellor’s recent autumn statement announcement to make the UK a world centre for the testing and development of this new technology.

Williams will be bringing its simulator and artificial intelligence technology to the project. An autonomous vehicle system will be integrated with the simulator to test it in a virtual environment. This technology will help increase the number of hours the system can be tested and can simulate various weather conditions and traffic scenarios that are difficult to test on real roads. William simulator technology will also help test public acceptance to driverless vehicles. Williams’ expertise in simulation originates in Formula One where the Williams Formula One teams’ drivers have been using highly sophisticated simulators since 2002. Williams Advanced Engineering has been commercialising this technology since 2010, with previous projects including the development of road safety simulators to improve driving standards in Qatar.

The consortium, called VENTURER, includes a range of organisations including Atkins, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, AXA, Fusion Processing, Centre for Transport and Society, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), University of Bristol and Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a collaboration between the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol.

Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering, said; “Williams Advanced Engineering is developing a growing reputation as a leader in next generation automotive technologies and autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the relationship we have with our cars. In Formula One we are used to using a state of the art simulator to implement new developments in a safe and repeatable environment. Williams Advanced Engineering has taken this learning beyond the race track and this project will build on our previous work in developing simulators for road safety applications. We are delighted to be working with a consortium of like-minded and forward thinking organisations to help make driverless cars a reality on Britain’s roads.”

Lee Woodcock, VENTURER project lead and technology director for Atkins’ Highways & Transportation business said: “We are thrilled to be appointed by Innovate UK to lead the UK development of an independent test site for, and a market leading capability in, autonomous vehicles. The VENTURER consortium have joined forces to explore the feasibility of driverless cars in the UK, by trialling autonomous vehicles in the Bristol region, investigating the legal and insurance aspects of driverless cars and exploring how the public react to such vehicles.

“This programme will help keep the UK at the forefront of this transformational technology, helping to deepen our understanding of the impact on road users and wider society and open up new opportunities for our economy and society.”

Business Secretary, Vince Cable said: “The UK is a world-leader in the development of driverless technology, and today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to city streets from 1 January. This not only puts us at the forefront of this transformational technology but it also opens up new opportunities for our economy and society.”

“Through the government’s industrial strategy we are backing the automotive sector as it goes from strength to strength. We are providing the right environment to give businesses the confidence to invest and create high skilled jobs.”

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