1. ITV Report

Meet the virtual eyes mapping the UK's roads for driverless cars

It's hoped this kit will make a 3D map of every lane and motorway of the UK Photo: ITV News

Half a million pounds worth of technology is being driven around the UK to make a precise 3D map for self driving cars.

Two lasers, a 360 degree camera and GPS sensors form the virtual eyes to soak up every nook and cranny of country lanes to motorways.

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We can see pretty much, anything down to about 5mm, so we can see the road, we'll see the road markings, the curb lines, the street furniture, the buildings.

Everything that you can see with the eye, the system will see.

– Mark Reid, KOREC
Cameras, lasers and GPS mapping create this accurate map. Credit: Ordnance Survey

Mapping agency, Ordnance Survey, are piecing together a virtual picture.

Experts say it's an extraordinary level of detail.

There's an awful lot of planning involved prior to even going out to capture the data, for a large area, 32 km, it's likely to be somewhere in the region of 4 to 6 weeks, and that's from data capture, to the data being ingested and we start to extract those features.

– Jon Horgan Product Development Consultant, Ordnance Survey
Self driving cars need to learn to react to human behaviour. Credit: ITV News

Driverless cars also need to react to the unpredictability of human behaviour.

You want to have humans that behave around the self-driving car in simulation, in the same way as they do in the real world.

So that's maybe pedestrians running in front of the car, cyclists in front of the car, humans maybe cutting in front of your self driving car, that's really important, because only if you test it in front of real human behaviours, will you know if your self driving car is safe.

– Kirsty Lloyd-Jukes, CEO, Latent Logic

But are people ready to trust self driving vehicles?

The AA have found many of their customers are yet to come round to the idea of self-driving vehicles, with only 16% saying they'd happily sit in a driverless car, and not be worried about what was going on.

Driverless car trials have been taking place at the University of the West of England, aimed at older adults. Credit: ITV West Country

The West Country is already leading the way in driverless car technology for older passengers.

Scientists at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, at the University of the West of England, are testing these vehicles on older adults because they could be the largest market.