FiveAI, the UK firm developing technology for urban driverless vehicles, is introducing data gathering cars to London streets as it works towards bringing a shared driverless car service to the city.
The 10-month data gathering exercise will help FiveAI to gain a comprehensive understanding of the road environment and the behaviour of other road users, such as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
During the project, five manually-driven data gathering cars will operate in the London boroughs of Bromley and Croydon. FiveAI will use the data gathered by the vehicles to develop its driverless vehicle technology.
“For our service to eventually operate in London, we have to learn about the road layout, topology and traffic flow,” said Ben Peters, co-founder and VP Product, FiveAI.
“As with any vehicle on the road, safety is paramount and that’s why all of our vehicles will be driven by fully-trained safety drivers. We believe that autonomous vehicles will be many times safer than human drivers, and this data gathering phase is a vitally important step towards making that a reality.
“By supporting London’s transport objectives with a shared driverless car service, FiveAI can play a crucial role in reducing congestion, emissions, incidents, and the cost and time of journeys to benefit all Londoners.”
The company’s planned driverless car service will be aimed at people currently driving some or all of their daily commute.
FiveAI hopes to launch a supervised trial of a pilot fleet of autonomous vehicles on London roads in 2019, and demonstrate that the technology is now sufficiently mature to be safe in urban environments and intelligent enough to co-exist with human drivers and other road users.