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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N01300X/1
Title: TASCC: Secure Cloud-based Distributed Control (SCDC) Systems for Connected Autonomous Cars
Principal Investigator: Dianati, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Wolf, Professor A Tafazolli, Professor R Maple, Professor C
Fallah, Professor S Sorniotti, Professor A Watson, Professor T
Stevens, Professor A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Nokia O2 Thales Ltd
Department: Communications Systems Res CCSR
Organisation: University of Surrey
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 15 June 2016 Ends: 15 July 2017 Value (£): 2,601,075
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Control Engineering Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
28 Jul 2015 Towards Autonomy - Smart and Connected Control (Interview) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Automotive industry and the consumers are eager for smart features on new cars and more efficient vehicles. Modern cars are not considered as mere means for travelling from point A to B anymore, but rather smart systems that offer personalised services and have the capability to adapt to the user's preferences and needs. They are expected to become intelligent agents that learn from their environments and exploit various sources of information to become increasingly autonomous systems that relieve the driver from tedious tasks, such as parking, and improve safety, efficiency, and desirability of the future cars.

From a wider angle, today's land transportation systems claim about 1.3 million lives and 7 million injuries in road accidents, according to a recent report by CISCO. The increasing number of cars results in traffic jams costing about 90 billion of lost hours for the drivers and the passengers. In addition, transportation accounts for about 26% of the total greenhouse gas emission from human activities. While public transport can help, cars remain to be the desired means of transport according to a recent report by the Department of Transport in 2014.

These market forces in addition to the environmental, economic and social impacts of transport systems demand a timely and transformative research to rethink the automotive control systems and revolutionise vehicle design for future cars.

There have been two trends towards this objective in the past decade: in the one hand the research in autonomous systems, inspired by unmanned space vehicles, gave birth to driver-less concept cars such as Google robotic car; on the other hand, modern wireless communications enabled cars to talk to each other and the roadside infrastructures, resulting in the concept of connected cars. However, driver-less cars remain to be too expensive for commercial vehicles (Google's cars cost about £100,000 only for sensing equipment) and connected vehicles can offer little if not properly integrated into smart and autonomous features.

This ambitious research is defined by a number of world-class academic institutions and leading industrial partners to work with Jaguar Land Rover, a market leader in high end cars, to design and validate a framework that combines the power of connected vehicles concept with the notion of autonomous systems and build a novel platform for cost-effective deployment of autonomous features and ultimately realisation of connected and fully autonomous cars. This can be made possible thanks to modern wireless technologies and the power of cloud computing that allows sharing expensive computing resources (hence, reducing costs per vehicle) and provides access to information that are only available on the cloud.

To realise the ambition of the project, a number of key challenges in the areas of ultra-low-latency wireless technologies, cloud computing, distributed control systems, and human interaction issues will be addressed in this project. In addition, potential security threats will be identified and analysed to assess the potential risks for the public and reputational damage for car manufacturers should such technologies be commercialised. At the end of the project, the technical solutions will be integrated into a single framework and will be validated by example applications, characterising technical and service-level performance of the framework, and providing a basis for the future direction of enhanced automated services.

While the objective here is to ultimately enable affordable driver-less cars, in the short term, this project aims to enable a number of demonstrable autonomous features in a test environment.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk