Driverless cars trialled in complex London environment

The UK’s DRIVEN consortium has reached a key milestone in its programme to put driverless cars on the nation’s roads, demonstrating the capabilities of a fleet of self-driving vehicles in a complex urban environment around London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

DRIVEN said that the week-long autonomous vehicle technology demonstration in Stratford confirms that autonomous vehicles can operate safely and legally in complex real-life situations on typical London roads.

“The completion of the DRIVEN project marks a significant milestone for the future of autonomous vehicles in the UK,” said Dr Graeme Smith, DRIVEN Programme Director and Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Oxbotica, the company whose autonomous software powers the DRIVEN programme.

“Establishing Britain as a world leader for innovative technologies has been at the heart of our mission and we’re incredibly proud of the steps we have taken to help make AVs a reality on our roads.”

The £13.6m DRIVEN initiative has sought to address fundamental real-world challenges facing self-driving vehicles. It has focused on completing fully autonomous routes within the dense urban environments of London and Oxford, showing Oxbotica’s UK-developed technology’s competitive advantage in such environments.

The programme combines a wide range of technical experts, including Oxford Robotics Institute, Axa XL, Nominet, Telefonica, TRL, RACE, Oxfordshire County Council and Transport for London.

“Self-driving technology has the scope to revolutionise the way people travel, with potentially profound benefits for road safety, accessibility and convenience. We want to drive the roll-out of self-driving vehicles and continue to support innovators developing this ground-breaking technology,” said Transport Minister George Freeman MP.

“The success of trials like project DRIVEN underpin our Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, highlighting our ongoing support for innovation, research and the trialling of exciting new technology which cements our position as a global leader in this space.”

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Michael Hurwitz, Director of Innovation at Transport for London, said: “Autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to significantly change travel – and that’s why the Mayor’s Transport Strategy commits us to engaging with innovative companies, both now and in the future, at the earliest available opportunity.

“TfL recently published new London-specific guidance for autonomous vehicle trials which it expects all organisations to adhere to. It promotes responsible and safe trials, as well as encouraging trials which are environmentally friendly and benefit the city, complementing our focus on walking, cycling and green public transport.”

Adrian Copland, COO, Accelerate, Axa XL, said: “Autonomous technologies will have an incredible impact on society, from creating safer working environments to providing mobility for those most in need.

“We were delighted to be able to bring our risk management and insurance capabilities to the DRIVEN projects all while learning first-hand about the risks associated with the technology. The knowledge we have acquired through our involvement in DRIVEN has already allowed us to provide insurance solutions to a number of our clients’ autonomy initiatives.”