Addison Lee and Oxbotica prepare for autonomous vehicles in London’s Canary Wharf

Addison Lee Group and self-driving vehicle software developer Oxbotica, who recently announced plans to bring self-driving vehicles to London’s streets, have begun mapping the city’s Canary Wharf business district in preparation for autonomous vehicle services.

The partners have begun a 3D street-mapping exercise that will create the backdrop for the planned new autonomous services. Working with Canary Wharf Group and insurer AXA XL, the companies are using a mapping vehicle to record every kerb, road sign, landmark and traffic light across Canary Wharf’s 128-acre estate.

Andy Boland, Addison Lee Group’s CEO, said that with its campus-style layout and a high number of commuters, Canary Wharf is the “perfect place” to begin its mapping exercise.

“Canary Wharf now has over 120,000 daily commuters and around 30,000 visitors coming to the Estate every day,” said Mark Nallen, Canary Wharf Group’s Head of Technology and Innovation.

“Transport is clearly vital to any growing population and as public transport routes become more heavily used, it is crucial we provide additional capacity to meet the increasing scale of their transport needs,” continued Nallen.

“We believe the types of services envisaged by Addison Lee Group and Oxbotica could be part of the solution and we are delighted to be at the forefront of autonomous vehicle innovation.”

Oxbotica CEO Graeme Smith said: “This mapping is another step towards making autonomous vehicles a reality in complex urban environments such as Canary Wharf.

“This partnership shows the trust we have gained to deploy our integrated autonomous vehicle and fleet management software in even the most challenging of environments. We look forward to bringing autonomous vehicles into mainstream use on the streets of London in the very near future.”

Another company preparing for the introduction of shared driverless vehicles in London, FiveAI, has already started mapping the street environment in two of the city’s boroughs – Bromley and Croydon – using data-gathering vehicles. The company hopes to launch a supervised trial of a pilot fleet of autonomous vehicles in London in 2019.