£13m project sees self-driving cars navigate London streets
A key milestone in a 30-month government-supported project has been hit after a fleet of self-driving vehicles were shown to navigate London’s streets.
The DRIVEN consortium, a jointly-funded £13.6m programme, gave a week-long demonstration around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, establishing the UK’s autonomous vehicle (AV) technology in challenging every-day conditions.
The DRIVEN programme – powered by autonomous software from Oxbotica – was said to show that autonomous vehicles can operate safely and legally in complex real-life situations with a safety driver present, on typical public roads.
The coalition of experts include Oxbotica, Oxford Robotics Institute, Axa XL, Nominet, Telefonica, TRL, RACE, Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and Transport for London (TfL).
The project is adhering fully to the Department for Transport’s Code of Practice and Transport for London’s (TfL) recently published London-specific guidance for Connected and Autonomous Trials.
Minister of state at the department for transport George Freeman MP, said self-driving technology has the scope to revolutionise travel, and improve 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.
“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.”
The £13.6m DRIVEN initiative – with matched funding from UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and industry - has sought to address fundamental real-world challenges facing self-driving vehicles.
It has focused on completing fully autonomous routes within the dense complex urban environments of London and Oxford, showing Oxbotica’s UK-developed technology’s competitive advantage in such environments.
The prototype vehicles have succeeded driving in complex urban environments without the need for human input, exceeding the initial plan in terms of complexity and achievement. This means that fully autonomous vehicles have made an important step forward towards everyday operation on our roads.