Having secured the Rs. 1120 crore order from EESL in September this year for the supply of 10,000 electric cars, Tata Motors is now testing the waters in the emerging self-driving vehicle space. As per recent developments, autonomous Tata Hexa trials have begun in the UK and companies like Ford and Land Rover have also collaborated to test their respective vehicles.
The self-driving Hexa has been developed at the Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) located in Coventry. This R&D unit also provided inputs to Tata Motors for the development of Tigor EV. The technology, consisting of a plethora of imaging and radar sensors, is being tested in production cars to ease addition of the self-drive system at a later date. Along with the Tata Hexa, Ford Mondeo and Range Rover Sport are in the list of vehicles being tested in real-life test conditions.
Moreover, Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover are also leading technology trials separately. The cars being tested are equipped with Emergency Vehicle Warning (to let emergency vehicles such as cop cars, fire engine and ambulance pass), Intersection Collision Warning, In-Vehicle Signage (to warn the driver about road conditions and traffic congestion), Electronic Emergency Brake Light (to detect when the vehicles ahead brake in an emergency), Intersection Priority Management (to decide and make way for connected vehicles to pass at intersections safely) and Collaborative Parking system.
In addition, trained operators are present in the cars at all times to take over in case of a malfunction in the self-drive system. Going forward scheduled rigorous testing in Milton Keynes next year followed by an open road demonstration in the latter half of 2018. In India, the automotive scenario is rapidly advancing to electric vehicles but with infrastructural development and driving sense being unable to match the pace of vehicle population, self-driving cars are still a distant dream in the country.
Autonomous Tata Hexa Trials
– Tata Hexa readied by UK-based TMETC
– Autonomous Hexa equipped with in-vehicle signage, intersection collision warning, emergency vehicle warning and more
– Ford Mondeo and Range Rover Sport are also part of autonomous fleet