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23 October 2018

Addison Lee and Oxbotica to implement AV services in London by 2021

First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
Addison Lee has partnered with self-driving vehicle software company Oxbotica in a bid to bring autonomous ride-sharing services to London by 2021.

Addison Lee, a UK private taxi hire firm, says it will also explore opportunities to provide corporate shuttles, airport and campus-based services.

Andy Boland, CEO of Addison Lee, says: “By providing ride-sharing services, we can help address congestion, free space used for parking and improve urban air quality through zero-emission vehicles.”

The partnership will create digital maps of more than 250,000 miles of public roads in and around the capital. These maps will record the position of kerbs, road sign, landmark and traffic lights in preparation for the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AV).

Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica, says the initiative will aid the commercial deployment of the company’s integrated AV and fleet management software systems in complex urban transport conditions.

Addison Lee set-up and led the Merge Greenwich consortium to investigate how AV ride-sharing could be introduced to complement existing public transport services. In addition, Oxbotica has deployed a fleet of AVs in public trials in London and Oxford as part of the Driven consortium.

In response to the project, Russel Goodenough, client managing director, transport sector at Fujitsu UK and Ireland says the company’s research shows 88% of the public believe technology is driving societal change and half regard this change as ‘overwhelmingly positive.’

However, two-fifths of the public are uncomfortable with being picked up by a self-driving car due to security and safety. Also, less than one in five parents would be okay with putting their child in a driverless car for the school run.

“Driverless cars could boost UK productivity by enabling employees to work while commuting, as well as reduce accidents on the road and the amount of land needed for parking. But, it’s up to everyone in the transport sector to come together to agree exactly how this technology will work in the UK,” Goodenough concludes.

Earlier this month, OpenText surveyed 2,000 UK consumers, in which over half of the respondents say they would never consider buying or renting a driverless car.

The business information company says six out ten respondents think driverless/autonomous cars will eventually outnumber manually-driven vehicles.

A third of participants believe there will be more driverless/autonomous cars on the road than traditional cars in the next 10-15 years. This view was held by 66% of respondents to a similar OpenText survey in 2017.

Also, the number of UK citizens comfortable with being a passenger in a driverless car has dropped from 24% in 2017 to 19% in this year's results.

Just under a quarter of participants believe AVs will improve road safety compared to 42% of consumers who responded in 2017.  

One in ten participants think the technology will make roads safer on UK motorways, the company adds.  

Mark Bridger, senior vice president, Europe, OpenText, says the more ‘game-changing’ artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as AVs will take longer to be accepted.

“AI will enable automakers to analyse, adapt, and suggest solutions based on data. As AVs become more common, the data they produce will become a new, powerful asset for organisations,” Bridger adds.

Automotive companies need to ensure the technology is safe and reliable in order to install the necessary level of trust for mass adoption, he concludes.

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