Tata Motors' driver-less Tata Hexa undergoes UK trials

The largest autonomous and connected car trial held on the UK's public roads has got underway in Coventry, on which the self-driving tech was tested under real-life scenarios for the first time.

The members of the UK Autodrive project, who organised the trials included Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Ford and the Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC). Each car maker had donated a model from their range for the test, a Hexa from Tata, a Range Rover Sport and F-Pace from its UK subsidiary JLR, and a Mondeo from Ford.

The trials are meant to see how effectively connecting cars will be able to 'talk' to each other, traffic lights and other obstacles on the road. They are also meant to test the ability to network and provide advance information such as emergency vehicle warnings.

The two Tata subsidiaries, JLR and TMETC, are focused on testing autonomous vehicle technology, with GPS-connected vehicles that are autonomous-capable but with a driver behind the wheel for safety.

Plans for the expansion of the trials to the city of Milton Keynes in early 2018 are on track and the final series of open road demonstrations have also been scheduled for the second half of next year.

The Range Rover Sport prototype that participated had Level 4 autonomy, which means it could drive itself but required a driver behind the wheel as a precaution.

The autonomous driving technology in the Tata Hexa is a product of a Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) collaboration with UK Autodrive.

The Downtown Urban Edition of the Tata Hexa was recently launched by Tata Motors in India.

Apart from autonomous technology, the Tata Hexa is also undergoing tests for Emergency Vehicle Warning which detects signals from emergency vehicles such as ambulances in order to move out of their path. Tests on the Hexa are also on for Intersection Collision Warning, and Intersection Priority Management, which will decide the order in which connected self-driving cars cross an intersection.