Autonomous vehicles successfully demonstrated in London
A group of UK companies coming under the Driven project banner has taken its autonomous vehicles to the London Borough of Newham this week to showcase the technology and demonstrate the progress that has been made to bring self-driving cars to the roads.
"Self-driving technology has the scope to revolutionize the way people travel, with potentially profound benefits for road safety, accessibility and convenience," said George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Transport. "We want to drive the roll-out of self-driving vehicles and continue to support innovators developing this ground-breaking technology. The success of trials like project Driven underpin our Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, highlighting our ongoing support for innovation, research and the trialing of exciting new technology which cements our position as a global leader in this space."
The Driven consortium, that's spearheaded by Oxbotica – which we've seen before trialing its self-driving Ultra Pods and CargoPod around London – says that the demonstration is proof positive that the 30-month project's self-driving vehicles are able to operate "smoothly, safely and legally in complex real-life situations."
In addition to Oxbotica, the project includes technical experts from the likes of Nominet, the University of Oxford, Telefonica, Transport for London and the Cicero Group. While developing Level 4/5 autonomous vehicles, the Driven project has also been looking into cloud-based connectivity.
During the recent trial, the fleet of autonomous prototype vehicles – specially-kitted-out Ford cars kitted out with camera and laser arrays – had safety drivers behind the wheels to monitor the vehicles and be ready to take over at the first sign of trouble, but the idea was to let the cars drive themselves along a pre-determined loop starting at the Lee Valley VeloPark in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford.
"These trials further demonstrate to the wider UK public that connected and autonomous vehicles will play an important role in the future of transport," said Oxbotica's Ozgur Tohumcu. "This milestone shows the advanced state of our capabilities and confirms that Oxbotica is well placed to lead the commercial rollout of AVs globally."