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New self-driving vehicle tech set to make roundabouts safer

A new autonomous driving research project may help reduce the number of accidents NZ roundabouts in the future according to a local spokesperson.

Ministry of Transport statistics shows around 9% of all accidents involving injuries at intersections in NZ occur at roundabouts.

The multi-million dollar project in the UK called AutopleX which will develop vehicles that can see around corners and through obstacles, improving the capability of self-driving cars.

This will enable automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

Jaguar Land Rover general manager Steve Kenchington says the technology may help prevent accidents at roundabouts in this country by combining connected, automated and live mapping technology to allow self-driving cars to ‘see’ and ‘talk to’ each other.

Kenchington states, “Someone is killed or seriously on a roundabout almost every day in New Zealand.

“The new self-driving technology being researched at the moment will help make navigating this type of intersection a lot safer for all road users.

“The fact that this is being developed in the UK is significant as in many ways NZ has more similar driving conditions to that market as compared to the USA where self-driving technology is also being researched.”

Kenchington says there about one roundabout for every 127 intersections in the UK but only about 1 for every 1118 intersections in the USA.

Kenchington says Jaguar Land Rover is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. 

This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

He says the car maker is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. 

The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

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