BMW, Fiat, Ford, Mercedes, VW, Volvo, GM, Renault and PSA To Cooperate On Autonomous Cars
|   Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The idea of ​​an autonomous car is closer to reality. A consortium of 29 companies, including world renowned car manufacturers, have joined forces to launch a project responsible for setting the parameters for autonomous series machines.

Called the AdaptIVe (Automated Driving Applications & Technologies for Intelligent Vehicles) project, it will cover a period of 42 months and will take place in Wolfsburg (at the MobileLifeCampus), Volkswagen's hometown.
As you may have guessed, Volkswagen is one of the initiators of this project.

With the Germans contributing expertise and research, other global auto companies have expressed interest in the production of autonomous cars. Here we have names like BMW, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Renault and Volvo.

Targeting customers who want a more relaxing drive, and a safer run, more fuel efficiency and less congested traffic, the initiators of the project will investigate technologies that use sensors in the car, and outside of it, to keep permanent control functions and to always communicate with other road users or organizations responsible for infrastructure.

The 29 partners of the AdaptIVe project will develop and test new features for seven cars and a truck, capable of simulating a semi-autonomous or autonomous behavior in urban traffic, on the highway and even in new parking situations. In addition to testing and upgrading existing technologies, the partners will explore the legal implications for manufacturers and drivers, and the ability to respect the traffic rules.

Professor J├╝rgen Leohold, Executive Director of Volkswagen Group Research stated that "This complex field of research will not only utilise onboard sensors, but also cooperative elements such as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. Therefore, I am glad that most European automotive companies are cooperating in this pre-competitive field to create new solutions for automated driving."

The budget stands at 25 million euros and comes from the European Commission. Its focus will be "offering both partially automated and highly automated driving on motorways, in urban scenarios, and for close-distance maneuvers."

The race to create and market a fully or semi-autonomous machine seems to go into its next level. Already, some manufacturers, like Nissan and Tesla, have set clear deadlines for securing these technologies.

Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO, said the research is aiming to have the "automatic pilot" technology within three years. Also, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, said his group will have a fully automated car, and fully functional on the road, no later than 2020.

In 2011, some of the 29 partners have completed a similar project with good results. This project, was also conducted in Europe, and has been called HAVEit (Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport). Its aim was to explore the behavior of semi-autonomous vehicles and systems that can afford it.

Total investments in HAVEit reached 28 million euro. Of them, 17 million euro were EU grants, and 11 million euro was the share of the 17 project partners, 7 euro million of which were invested by the automobile industry. The HAVEit consortium is made of vehicle manufacturers, automotive suppliers and scientific institutes based in Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Hungary.
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