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Η Self Driving Track Days, μια νεοσύστατη επιχείρηση, ανακοίνωσε το πρόγραμμα των πρώτων ιδιωτικών εκδηλώσεων αυτού του είδους στην Ευρώπη, στις οποίες θα έχουν την ευκαιρία να συμμετέχουν διάφορες ομάδες που αναπτύσσουν αυτόνομα οχήματα και θέλουν να τα δοκιμάσουν σε ένα ελεγχόμενο περιβάλλον.

Η πρώτη εκδήλωση θα λάβει μέρος στο Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο, όπου ερευνητές θα έχουν την τύχη να πειραματιστούν με τους αισθητήρες, τις ρυθμίσεις και το λογισμικό των αυτόνομων οχημάτων τους. Η εκδήλωση θα περιλαμβάνει δοκιμές των αυτόνομων οχημάτων σε αυτοκινητόδρομο πολλαπλών λωρίδων μήκους 1,6 χιλιομέτρων.

Η δεύτερη εκδήλωση θα πραγματοποιηθεί στην Προβηγκία της Γαλλίας στις 21-22 Φεβρουαρίου του 2017. Η πίστα αγώνων του Castellet, η οποία παρέχει και ξεχωριστή περιοχή χειρισμού, θα υποδεχθεί τις ομάδες ερευνητών που θα δοκιμάσουν τα οχήματα.

Ακολούθως, η τρίτη είναι προγραμματισμένη για τις 10-11 Μαΐου τον ίδιο χρόνο, στο Surrey του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου όπου θα υπάρχουν ασφαλτοστρωμένες και μη επιφάνειες για δοκιμές. Τέλος, η τέταρτη εκδήλωση θα πραγματοποιηθεί στην Αυστρία, στις 28-29 Ιουλίου, όπου τέσσερις πίστες θα είναι διαθέσιμες στο Zentrum Teesdorf για πλήρεις δοκιμές.

Σε αντίθεση με άλλες εκδηλώσεις, που προορίζονται για τις αυτοκινητοβιομηχανίες, οι συγκεκριμένες απευθύνονται σε ερευνητές και εφευρέτες. Έτσι, η διοργανώτρια εταιρία θα δώσει την ευκαιρία σε αυτούς να δοκιμάσουν τις κατασκευές τους σε ελεγχόμενο περιβάλλον χωρίς υπέρογκες χρηματικές επιβαρύνσεις. Αυτοκινητοβιομηχανίες, εφευρέτες και μαθητές είναι ευπρόσδεκτοι να πάρουν μέρος και να σχηματίσουν ομάδες, όπως το Google Campus στο Λονδίνο ή το Autoworld στις Βρυξέλλες.

Δελτίο Τύπου

Europe’s first open testing event for autonomous vehicle development will take place in the UK later this year, as start-up Self Driving Track Days announces a series of events across Europe to help accelerate development of self-driving car technology.

Aimed at teams developing autonomous vehicle technologies and ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), these private test-track events, which will be held every 3 months, will provide a safe and secure venues to conduct research and development on a number of tracks in a variety of locations around Europe, starting in the UK at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in November.

“Driverless vehicle technology is a young discipline which pools expertise from different areas of mechanical, electrical and software engineering skills.  We’re keen to close the skills gaps between education and what industry is telling us is missing in the talent pool. These events will bring people together and help to develop their skills, and experience to be ready for the critical next step for their products.”

Co-Founder Alex Lawrence-Berkeley was keen to emphasise that the events were focused on increasing engineer skills and experience: “These track days are for innovators, inventors and researchers. Teams at commercial, academic or hobbyist level can explore autonomous vehicle technology in a safe, affordable and collaborative environment – and have access to specialist training that only experienced industry professionals can deliver”.

“The UK has a fine heritage in automotive engineering and motorsport, and we intend to complement those industries by working closely with venues, industry associations and trade bodies to ensure they can also benefit from this new activity in developing safety protocols and spread these new skills around those industries as well.  Likewise we will be looking forward to working with the many established commercial and academic automotive engineering competitions which are developing driverless series in the future.”

Paul Atkin, Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground’s Business Development Manager, and host of the first event, said that the test track, in Leicestershire, had a long history of hosting innovative automotive engineers. “As the UK’s largest privately owned test track, situated in the centre of England’s industrial heart, we are delighted and proud to host what will be Europe’s first event of its kind for autonomous vehicles. We look forward to welcoming participating teams to Self Driving Track Days later this year.”

Automotive companies, students or startups can also form multi-partner teams at free networking meet-up events being hosted at Google Campus London and AutoWorld Brussels, both taking place in September. (at Google Campus London, 12 noon – 2 pm on 16 September 2016, register for free at http://bit.ly/sdtd-meetup-1 and at AutoWorld Brussels, 12 noon – 2 pm on 20 September 2016, register for free at http://bit.ly/sdtd-meetup-2 [Co-located with the AutoSens vehicle perception conference and exhibition])

The Transport Systems Catapult, famous for their LUTZ Pathfinder driverless vehicle project in Milton Keynes, have endorsed the initiative. Andrew Everett, Chief Strategy Officer, Transport Systems Catapult:

“The Transport Systems Catapult welcomes the ‘Self Driving Track Days’ initiative as a great opportunity to develop the UK skills base in this rapidly advancing area. Our research suggests the global market for Autonomous Vehicles and connected vehicle products will be worth over £52bn by 2025. Meanwhile the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle market has one of the highest predicted global growth rates amongst emerging transport technologies. The UK already has strong expertise in these areas, but skills gaps are already being highlighted in our research that need to be filled as the technology matures.”

Nurturing talent and encouraging new businesses and innovators to enter this space, through initiatives like Self Driving Track Days, will be vital if we are to capture a significant share of the market.”

Venues

  • Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, Leicestershire, UK: 15-16 Nov 2016 – Includes 1.6 km multi-lane motorway straight.
  • Driving Center Castellet, Provence, France: 21-22 Feb 2017 – Racing circuit with separate handling areas.
  • Longcross Test Track, Surrey, UK: 10-11 May 2017 – Surfaced and unsurfaced test circuits.
    • Zentrum Teesdorf, Austria: 28-29 July 2017 – Flagship event with four circuits, including a road-training centre, handling circuit, off-road area and others, plus multiple face-to-face training workshops, networking and more.