Scalextric-style test track uses tiny 8-inch long vehicles to make roads more ...

Self-driving cars are back on track: Scalextric-style test track uses tiny 8-inch long vehicles to make roads of the future more efficient Scientists have built a fleet of autonomous minicars operating on a mini highway  The toy-like cars are coordinated and share driving and navigation strategies   The model drastically cuts the cost of real scale studies in cooperative driving It could help improve real life traffic throughput, road capacity and safety 

By Yuan Ren For Mailonline

Published: 17:29 GMT, 1 March 2019 | Updated: 17:31 GMT, 1 March 2019

View
comments

A Scalextric-like test track using 16 model cars on a miniature highway has been created to make roads of the future more efficient  

The self-driving Cambridge Minicar, which is just eight inches long, was designed to create a low cost system to test how autonomous vehicles can work together.

Real life experiments of this type of cooperative driving are expensive, as they require cars operating in a controlled environment with multiple driving lanes. 

The miniature system lets researchers test different strategies and smart software, which send signals to the vehicles over radio and internet connections.

Scroll down for video 

A Scalextric-like test track using 16 model cars on a miniature highway has been created to make roads of the future more efficient The self-driving Cambridge Minicar was designed to create a low cost system to test how autonomous vehicles can work together 

A Scalextric-like test track using 16 model cars on a miniature highway has been created to make roads of the future more efficient The self-driving Cambridge Minicar was designed to create a low cost system to test how autonomous vehicles can work together 

Smart and cooperative driving systems allow automated cars to make decisions like changing lanes rather than waiting in a queue.  

A car can communicate this to the other vehicles in the system so that they make adjustments to help individual manoeuvres like that to happen. 

Their route planning and navigation system uses an algorithm that relies on positioning feedback from an external motion capture system 

The system will also change its behaviour so that it avoids queuing and the group acts towards this goal as a whole. 

Using this data, a computer workstation calculates the the velocity and steering control inputs for all vehicles which are relayed to each car over broadband and radio.

Dr Amanda Prorok, whose team at the University of Cambridge developed the Cambridge Minicar system, said: 'Cooperative driving strategies hold a lot of promise for the future of traffic. 

'However, more work still needs to be done in order to truly transition from a lab environment into the real world.'  

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

NEXT Technology Cramer: Investors who bought Apple ahead the quarter got the call right