DRIVEN, a UK consortium trialling autonomous vehicles, recently demonstrated how its fleet of autonomous vehicles can interact and communicate with each other.
The consortium put two of its autonomous vehicles on the roads at its headquarters at the Culham Science Centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
Faced with pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic, the cars navigated the site autonomously, using their lidar sensors, on-board computers and cameras. The vehicles use Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy software and fleet tracking software from Caesium.
“This is a significant landmark in the development of vehicle autonomy, which has always been about more than simply self-driving,” said DRIVEN project director and Oxbotica CEO Dr Graeme Smith.
“This public trial demonstrates that our technology is able to share data and information that vehicles are then able to use to plot more effective routes, avoid potential hazards, and anticipate conditions more effectively.
“This will have huge implications on the way autonomous vehicles will operate and how the future of road travel in the UK looks, improving safety, efficiency and productivity.”
Professor Paul Newman, co-founder of Oxbotica and Director of the Oxford Robotics Institute, said that the demonstration highlighted the UK’s position at the forefront of future travel.
“We hope and expect that the technology that DRIVEN is developing will be adopted by vehicle manufacturers all over the world as the first wave of autonomous vehicles, as the public imagines them, comes to market,” said Newman.
DRIVEN is currently conducting on-road urban trials of its vehicle fleet in Oxford. Next year, it plans to deploy Level 4 autonomous vehicles in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in multiple journeys between London and Oxford.
As the project develops, the consortium and member XL Catlin, a global re/insurer, plan to create a risk assessment tool to help autonomous vehicle users to decide what level of autonomy and speed is appropriate for the driving conditions. They will also develop a new insurance proposition for autonomous vehicles.
“While autonomous vehicles are one of the most complex use cases of connected ecosystems in the world, I believe society will hugely benefit from them, providing insurers help make it a commercial –and insurable– reality,“ said Adrian Copland, DRIVEN Project Leader at XL Catlin.