Taxi firm aims for autonomous cars in London by 2021

31 October 2018

31 October 2018

London private hire company Addison Lee has teamed up with autonomous development business Oxbotica as it plans to bring autonomous vehicles to the UK’s capital by 2021.

Under the agreement, the two companies will collaborate on the development, deployment and operation of autonomous vehicles with its goal being a fully driverless service operating on the streets of London at the start of the next decade.

The long-term aim is to take a greater share of an expanding car services market for connected autonomous vehicle technology, forecasted to be worth £28 billion (€31.5 billion) in the UK by 2035, according to a Transport Systems Catapult Market Forecast report. Addison Lee Group aims to use its brand to offer affordable, quality, ride-shared services to passengers currently underserved by existing driven transport modes, as well as explore opportunities to provide corporate shuttles, airport and campus-based services.

Addison Lee Group and Oxbotica will pool expertise, technology and on-the-ground resource to explore self-driving car services that are safe and environmentally friendly, and deliver strong customer experiences, the taxi firm said in a statement.

The companies will work together to create detailed, digital maps of more than 250,000 miles of public roads in and around the capital. These maps will record the position of every kerb, road sign, landmark and traffic light in preparation for the deployment of autonomous cars.

With private car ownership declining at the same time city populations are expanding, consumers are increasing their use of car services. Both companies, therefore, believe that this is the right time to introduce car-share services to London streets, taking advantage of a growing market.

Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica, said: ′This represents a huge leap towards bringing autonomous vehicles into mainstream use on the streets of London and eventually in cities across the United Kingdom and beyond.

′Our partnership with Addison Lee Group represents another milestone for the commercial deployment of our integrated autonomous vehicle and fleet management software systems in complex urban transport conditions. Together, we are taking a major step in delivering the future of mobility.’

Andy Boland, CEO of Addison Lee Group, added: ′Urban transport will change beyond recognition in the next ten years with the introduction of self-driving services, and we intend to be at the very forefront of this change by acting now.

′Autonomous technology holds the key to many of the challenges we face in transport. By providing ride-sharing services, we can help address congestion, free space used for parking and improve urban air quality through zero-emission vehicles. We are proud to be partnering with a British technology pioneer and leader in autonomous vehicle technology, Oxbotica, and together we will continue our British success story in how we revolutionise the way people get around cities.’