Oxbotica and the Transport Research Laboratory have piloted the use of a Code of Practice for the deployment of autonomous vehicles in off-highway environments, with a live trial conducted in a quarry using a number of off-road vehicles.
The Code is available to download here
The Code identifies the key elements for safe and efficient deployment of autonomous vehicles in off-road industries.
Off-road environments can include mines, quarries, farms, refineries, warehouses, ports, and airports, feature more varied hazards and less structured scenarios than on-road settings with no universal highway rules, such as speed limits or junction etiquette.
A Code of Practice helps standardise across industries and allows learnings from each domain to be shared.
Off-road vehicles also have to interact with a wide variety of unpredictable objects in their environment, either because they block the vehicle’s path, such as undergrowth or tree branches, or because engaging with them is part of the vehicle’s primary function, such as harvesting or excavating.
With autonomous vehicles commonplace in many of these industries, working to deliver safety, efficiency and productivity, the Code of Practice will help organisations transition to new working practices and harness the potential benefits with no impact on safety.
To demonstrate the Code Of Practice and highlight its potential to work across a range of vehicles and industries, Oxbotica and TRL deployed a Ford Ranger and Range Rover Evoque, retrofitted with Oxbotica’s world-leading autonomy software platform, in a UK quarry in April 2021.
The vehicles were fitted with a full suite of sensors, including LiDAR, RADAR, and stereo cameras.
Oxbotica’s software is capable of using sensors independently or fused in any combination, meaning vehicles can drive with or without maps, depending what is available at any given time.
“Our autonomy software platform is capable of being integrated with any vehicle, in any environment,” says Oxbotica’s Ben Upcroft, “in order to harness the true power of this technology, operational regulations need to be developed in unison to ensure safe and efficient deployment. Consortiums such as this are a key stepping stone in ensuring the safe operation of autonomous vehicles in complex scenarios, and enabling the scale up to full commercial deployment in industrysettings.”
Download the Off-Highway Automated Vehicles Code of Practice here: https://trl.co.uk/publications/off-highway-automated-vehicles-code-of-practice
Watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/1Nx9roilVVg