First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
The Driven consortium, led by software provider Oxbotica
, hopes to trial a fleet of autonomous vehicles (AV) in London before Christmas following successful ongoing tests in Oxford
The vehicles will map streets in the London Borough of Hounslow as part of the consortium’s plans to run a fully autonomous fleet between both cities in 2019.
Oxbotica has equipped the vehicles with its autonomous software, radar, lidar sensors and onboard computers and cameras.
The fleet will gather data on the contents of street signs and the meanings of lane markings to understand each road. This process will be repeated throughout the trial to help the AVs detect how streets change in different lighting conditions, weather and seasons.
A safety driver will remain behind the steering wheel alongside an engineer who will monitor the vehicle’s functions.
Driven, which is supported by an £8.5 million grant from Innovate UK, seeks to establish fleet-wide SAE Level 4 connected autonomy (meaning that the vehicle would operate independently while the driver goes to sleep or leaves their seat). Aside from Oxbotica, other members include the Oxford Robotics Institute, AXA XL, Nominet, Telefonica, TRL, the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s robotics centre RACE, Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), Westbourne Communications and Transport for London (TfL).
Oxbotica has worked with the OCC and TfL to discuss the roads for the trials and to liaise with emergency services and local stakeholders in Hounslow.
Axa XL will provide insurance for the trials. Internet technology firm Nominet will test data transfer between vehicles and partners in the consortium.
Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet, says: “Our role developing and strengthening the understanding of data flow and security within the backbone infrastructure needed for autonomous vehicles is vital if driverless cars are to become a mainstream reality.”