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Ordnance Survey wins £20m driverless car research grant

The UK government is to pump £20m into the development of driverless car technology after selecting a consortium led by mapping specialists Ordnance Survey to benefit from its largesse.

The cash will fund the ‘Atlas’ project which seeks to better understand the data requirements necessary to support the efficient operation of autonomous vehicles, together with the feasibility of maintaining, processing and distributing

Outlining the full scope of this work Ordnance Survey’s chief geospatial scientist Jeremy Morley said: “Imagine sections of road – other than motorway – equipped with beacons using the potential of 5G technology and geospatial accuracy to sense ‘unexpected objects’ (a.k.a ‘children and animals’), that may unwittingly stray into the path of an oncoming autonomous vehicle. Engines in autonomous cars that pick up on road surface conditions perhaps, to adjust a car’s tyre pressures. We’re already seeing developments along these lines as collaborations between other mapping organisations and a range of car manufacturers – BMW, AUDI, et al.

“Then, what about catalytic converters that issue reports on fuel efficiency? Based on data coming from sensors embedded in the road’s surface, these could then update an employee’s benefits in kind – in real-time. Dynamic cats-eyes that open and close as traffic passes maybe… smartphones equipped with apps to interpret gantry signals, automatically updating calendars and meeting requests depending on traffic flow”

The consortium is composed of Satellite Applications Catapult, the Transport Research Laboratory, Sony Europe, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and autonomous navigation specialists GOBOTIX and OxTS.

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