The DRIVEN consortium has announced that it will begin trials of its autonomous vehicles in London this month as it ramps up preparations to run a fleet of autonomous vehicles between Oxford and London in 2019.
"These trials further demonstrate to the wider UK public that connected and autonomous vehicles will play an important role in the future of transport."
During the trial, the consortium will start to map streets in the London borough of Hounslow, which was chosen as an outer London borough that is a key link between the two cities.
Two members of the consortium, Nominet and AXA XL, will also use the trial to test data transfer between autonomous vehicles and consortium partners as part of the development of a robust cybersecurity model.
Nominet CEO Russell Haworth said: “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.”
Oxbotica has been working with consortium partners Oxfordshire County Council and Transport for London to prepare for the trials, discussing suitable roads, liaising with emergency services and communicating with stakeholders such as the London Borough of Hounslow.
During the trials, a fully qualified safety driver will always be behind the wheel, while an engineer will also sit in the car monitoring the vehicle’s functions. The vehicles will be fitted with a range of technology, including Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy software, radar, lidar sensors, on-board computers and cameras.
Dr Graeme Smith, Chief Executive of Oxbotica, said: “Being autonomous before Christmas will showcase the huge amount of work Oxbotica’s expert team of engineers has completed since the DRIVEN consortium was established.
“These trials further demonstrate to the wider UK public that connected and autonomous vehicles will play an important role in the future of transport. This milestone shows the advanced state of our capabilities and firmly keeps us on the road to providing the technology needed to revolutionise road travel.”