Autonomous vehicles take to the roads of the UK

03 October 2019

Autonomous vehicles take to the roads of the UK

3 October 2019

The Driven Consortium, a UK Government-supported project to examine the benefits of self-driving vehicles in urban areas, is celebrating a key milestone after demonstrating a fleet of vehicles in London.

The jointly-funded £13.6 million (€15.3 million) programme ran a week-long demonstration around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford to establish how the autonomous vehicle (AV) technology coped in challenging everyday conditions.

The Driven programme, which makes use of Oxbotica's autonomous software, confirms that autonomous vehicles can operate smoothly, safely and legally in complex real-life situations on typical public roads in Europe's biggest mega-city.

Revolution coming

The team used a fleet of Ford Mondeos to drive around the park and although they were running in fully autonomous mode, each car had a safety driver in place to take control if needed.

′Self-driving technology has the scope to revolutionise the way people travel, with potentially profound benefits for road safety, accessibility and convenience,' says Minister of State at the Department for Transport (DfT), George Freeman MP. ′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.'

Urban benefits

The project has taken a comprehensive approach to address the challenges facing self-driving vehicles in the cities of London and Oxford, going beyond the technical obstacles and examining the entire autonomous vehicle ′ecosystem'. It combines a wide range of technical experts in areas such as local authority planning, insurance, cyber-security and data trading.

A coalition of experts from Oxbotica, Oxford Robotics Institute, Axa XL, Nominet, Telefonica, TRL, RACE, Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and Transport for London (TfL) are working together, adhering fully to the DfT's Code of Practice and TfL's recently published London-specific guidance for Connected and Autonomous Trials.

′The completion of the Driven project marks a significant milestone for the future of autonomous vehicles in the UK. Establishing Britain as a world leader for innovative technologies has been at the heart of our mission, and we're incredibly proud of the steps we have taken to help make AVs a reality on our roads,' adds programme director and Oxbotica senior vice president, external affairs, Graeme Smith.