UK tech company Fusion Processing has converted a long-wheelbase Fiat Ducato crew van into a fully autonomous vehicle to support its work on autonomous buses.
Fusion Processing heads up Project CAVForth, a consortium of mobility companies that also includes Stagecoach. The consortium is working to create the world’s most advanced passenger service using autonomous buses and based on Fusion’s AI control and sensor system.
Dubbed CAVstar ADS, the tech provides level 4 and 5 autonomous driving capabilities; AV level 4 means that the vehicle is capable of entirely autonomous operation within its Operational Design Domain (ODD) and does not require a driver for safe operation, although it does still include steering and braking systems in the event of an emergency.
Fusion Processing marketing Director Jim Fleming said that although the project has a full-size bus for testing, the Ducato crew van provides a more convenient test platform to take on the road and measure the system performance.
It also shows how retrofitting the autonomous system offers a shortcut to those seeking level 4 autonomous vehicle capability.
“It’s a working vehicle, and its prime purpose is to support the CAVForth project, but it’s also now very clear that it makes a great showcase to demonstrate how Fusion’s CAVstar Automated Driving System may be used to convert a regular vehicle to level 4 autonomy,” he continued.
“We’ve refined our CAVstar system over a number of projects, but even so, it was heartening that the engineering team were able to convert an entirely new vehicle in just a few months.”