Driverless vehicles to be ‘DRIVEN’ on UK roads in 2019

Driverless vehicles are to be used in live road trials between Oxford and London as of 2019. The tests approved by the government last week are to be undertaken by the DRIVEN consortium that is led by the Oxford based artificial intelligence company Oxbotica.

In a statement, Oxbotica said: “The DRIVEN consortium – which benefits from a £8.6m grant awarded by Innovate UK – is an ambitious project that will see a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles being deployed in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in an end-to-end journey from London to Oxford.

“These vehicles will be operating at Level 4 autonomy – meaning they have the capability of performing all safety-critical driving functions and monitoring roadway conditions for an entire trip, with zero-passenger occupancy. No connected and autonomous vehicle trial at this level of complexity and integration has ever been attempted anywhere in the world.”

These vehicles will be autonomous and connected. The connectedness will allow them to share information about a variety of environmental and local conditions to include driving conditions and data from external sources.

Professor Paul Newman, Head of the Oxford Robotics Institute based at the University of Oxford, and one of Oxbotica’s founders, said: “DRIVEN is the first of its kind and brings a host of new questions surrounding the way these vehicles will communicate with each other. We’re moving from the singleton autonomous vehicle, to fleets of autonomous vehicles – and what’s interesting to us at the Oxford Robotics Institute is what data the vehicles share with one another, when, and why.”

The DRIVEN fleet of six inter-communicating vehicles will be equipped with Selenium, Oxbotica’s vehicle manufacturer (OEM) agnostic software.

Driverless, autonomous delivery vehicles are one of the major outcomes from such trials, and if proved 100% safe may well be one of the major cost effective and ultra-efficient upshots for the last mile delivery industry.  
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