French automaker Groupe PSA (Peugeot Citroen) and highways operator Vinci Autoroutes have tested new autonomous vehicle (AV) features in Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines following on from the trial carried out in July 2017, which led to the first passage through a tollgate in full autonomous mode.
The driving situations tested in the new phase of the PSA-Vinci program required more sophisticated communication between the AV and road infrastructure, with the goal of improving the vehicle’s ability to adapt its driving in exceptional or complex situations. The tests are part of a collaboration between the two partners that began in 2016. The results of these trials will feed into the standardization work that will be carried out in various collaborative projects such as the European C-Roads or French Government’s SAM projects, to which both groups contribute. On July 11, Vinci and PSA extended the trials to assess a vehicle’s ability to drive autonomously at cruising speed and pass through a tollgate in full-autonomous mode.
The two new complex driving situations that were also tested in ‘real-world’ traffic conditions on the Vinci Autoroutes network were:
- Changing into autonomous mode in a traffic area temporarily altered due to roadworks;
- Performing a ‘safe stop’, which involves the vehicle driving to a safe place in the event that the driver does not take back control in a specific situation (exceptional presence of obstacles on the road, severely deteriorated weather conditions, etc.) or in case of the end of the motorway. The trials were carried out on the A10 and A11 motorways between Dourdan and Ablis using a Peugeot 3008 prototype, which is part of the AV fleet for the AVA (Autonomous Vehicle for All) program.
“This trial is an additional step towards the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Two years after the first trial, the aim was to include even more constraints in the use cases by strengthening communication between the autonomous vehicle and the road infrastructure in order to broaden the scope of the system’s action while ensuring safety,” explained Carla Gohin, PSA’s chief technology officer. “These trials demonstrate the innovative and practical nature of the collaboration between us and Vinci Autoroutes, which is vital for the development of autonomous vehicles.”
Pierre Coppey, chairman of Vinci Autoroutes, added, “Smart motorway infrastructure is an essential asset in the development of autonomous vehicles. It enhances the contextual data shared with the navigation system to optimize the vehicle’s decision-making abilities and route. In this respect, our collaboration with PSA is full of promise. The motorway network offers a life-sized testing ground for new mobility solutions that will revolutionize road use in the future.”