Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Oxbridge create UK Autodrive to test driverless cars in Britain
Major automakers Jaguar Land Rover and Ford will begin testing driverless cars on UK roads from January 2015. Testing will take place in Coventry and Milton Keynes.
The two manufacturers will work closely along with Coventry council, Milton Keynes council, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the Open University, AXA insurance and other companies as part of the consortium called UK Autodrive, which won the Government's £10m ‘Introducing Driverless Cars’ competition.
Introducing Driverless Cars will see a semi-autonomous Range Rover tested in real world conditions. Autodrive UK says the aim of the project is not full autonomy, but rather a passenger vehicle that is capable of being autonomous for part of the time.
The group will also develop and evaluate lightweight self-driving pods designed for pedestrianized spaces. JLR researchers will then help develop the Human Machine Interface (HMI) strategy and lead the real-world trials of these technologies also.
The group has also been tasked with carrying out a number of feasibility studies in order to provide insights for vehicle manufacturers, cities, commercial operators, legislators and insurers to develop the legal framework for the rollout of autonomous mobility.
Tim Armitage, UK Autodrive Project Director, Arup, said, “The UK Autodrive consortium brings together world-class expertise that will help the UK position itself as a leader in the development and adoption of autonomous driving technologies.”
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said, “To successfully introduce driverless cars, we actually need to focus on the driver, as well as pedestrians and other road users.
“So we are researching the HMI in cars and self-driving pods to ensure all road users understand, accept and support these new and exciting technologies. We need to give everyone the confidence that a car or pod driving around with little or no human input is a safe, viable and rewarding experience.”
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.