Self-driving cars to be trialled on rural and residential roads across Britain 'in the coming months'

The self-driving Nissan Leaf

The autonomous vehicles will be tested on British roads over the next two years

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 27/09/2023

- 09:35

Updated: 05/03/2024

- 16:41

The project will prepare Nissan for the mass adoption of self-driving cars

Nissan has officially launched a new project that will review how autonomous vehicles can navigate on rural and residential roads across Britain.

The aim of the evolvAD project is to “enhance the UK’s autonomous drive capability” and prepare the supply chain for mass adoption.

The project will put “Connected and Autonomous” vehicles (CAV) through their paces on urban residential roads and in more difficult rural areas.

It is being done to ensure that autonomous vehicles are ready for a proper rollout and can deal with the everyday challenges of driving.

WATCH NOW: Self-driving cars in action

Residential areas can often lead to vehicles facing narrow roads, single lanes with parked vehicles and people crossing the road at any time.

The project will also test the effectiveness of such vehicles on rural roads, including driving at higher speeds and winding roads with little to no road markings.

The evolvAD project will take place over the coming 21 months and will help Nissan further advance its own autonomous driving technology.

Testing of the technology began in July, with all-electric Nissan LEAFs being used as the test vehicles.

According to the Japanese car brand, the vehicles will be tested in simulation and on private test tracks before the CAVs are introduced on live roads “in the coming months”.

David Moss, Senior Vice President, Region Research and Development for Nissan AMIEO, said: “We are extremely proud to be a part of the evolvAD project in the UK, working alongside some brilliant partners to test and trial our technology further.

“Through Nissan Ambition 2030 we want to empower mobility for everyone, and autonomous drive technologies are critical to this effort as they offer huge benefits in terms of vehicle safety, environmental impact and accessibility.

“As we celebrate 35 years of NTCE (Nissan Technical Centre Europe) in the UK, we’re excited to get going with this next project that will help ensure we continue to deliver technology of the future that truly benefits our customers.”

Autonomous vehicles are a key part of the manufacturer’s framework to create a cleaner, safer and more inclusive world.

This is part of Nissan Ambition 2030, which will see the Yokohama-based brand launch 23 electrified vehicles, including 15 EVs, by the end of the decade.

Nusrat Ghani, Minister for Industry and Economic Security, praised the launch of the evolvAD project, saying it would revolutionise the motoring experience.

The MP for Wealden said: “Self-driving vehicles have the potential to transform how we get around, making journeys safer, cleaner and more accessible while also helping grow the economy by creating highly skilled jobs.

“This research project will help develop this technology and show that the UK is at the cutting edge in developing automated technology that is not only innovative but, crucially, has safety at its heart.”

Nissan is acting as the technical lead and will make use of the Government’s £100million Intelligence Mobility Fund.


The self-driving Nissan Leaf

The vehicle will first be trialled on private test roads


Other partners include Connected Places Catapult, Humanising Autonomy, SBD Automotive and TRL.

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