Artificial Intelligence (AI) company Oxbotica has announced an ambitious new project that will deploy fully autonomous vehicles in urban areas and on motorways in the next 30 months.
The project is one of a number of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology schemes given £38m of Government funding under the driverless cars stream of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to develop the next generation of AI and control systems.
Oxbotica is leading the DRIVEN consortium of companies, which has been awarded an £8.6m grant via Innovate UK.
The project, which starts this month, 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.
Oxbotica chief executive Dr Graeme Smith said: ‘Today’s news is truly ground-breaking. No company, group or consortium of autonomy experts has ever attempted what DRIVEN is planning over the next 30-months.
‘We are seeking to address some of the most fundamental challenges preventing the future commercial deployment of fully autonomous vehicles.’
The vehicles will operate 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.
A key area of focus will be the development of an automated system ‘to radically transform how insurance and autonomous vehicles will work together in connected cities’.
The DRIVEN project is one of three schemes awarded government funding that are supported by experts from TRL, who will provide guidance on key safety, insurance and technology verification elements.
Iwan Parry, head of insurance at TRL, said: ‘To support the successful adoption of CAVs, it is important to consider all of the elements around safety, insurance and traffic management alongside the technology itself.
‘Through DRIVEN, TRL will work with consortia partners to develop a structure for an integrated transport approach that sees vehicles connect seamlessly to urban traffic control systems. Innovative and dynamic insurance methodologies are also vital to ensure a confident reception to CAVs on UK roads.’
TRL will also be involved in Streetwise – a project to develop and demonstrate the technology, safety validation methods, insurance and service models for delivering an autonomous personal mobility solution targeted at replacing the urban commuter car. The focus is on reducing costs, cutting accident rates, lowering emissions and minimising congestion.