The DRIVEN consortium demonstrated the capabilities of its fleet of AVs to interact and ‘talk’ to each other for the first time on 18 April 2018. The two cars, a Ford Fusion and a Mondeo, used Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy and Caesium fleet tracking software to navigate the site autonomously, dealing with pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic.
“This is a significant landmark in the development of vehicle autonomy, which has always been about more than simply self-driving,” said Dr Graeme Smith, project director and CEO at Oxbotica. “This public trial demonstrates that our technology is able to share data and information that vehicles are then able to use to plot more effective routes, avoid potential hazards and anticipate conditions more effectively. This will have huge implications on the way AVs will operate and how the future of road travel in the UK looks, improving safety, efficiency and productivity.”
DRIVEN, which is in receipt of an £8.6m (US$12m) UK government grant designed to stimulate the development of new technologies, is a project that will see a fleet of Level 4 AVs deployed in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in multiple end-to-end journeys between London and Oxford in 2019. At Level 4 autonomy, a vehicle can drive itself without any human input, most of the time.
The DRIVEN fleet can currently be seen conducting urban trials around the streets of Oxford. By autumn 2018 the fleet will be six strong. The wide-area road testing of the fleet is due to start in late summer 2018 across a range of environments, including low-speed urban and higher speed long-distance motorway driving.
“This demonstration shows once again that the UK is at the forefront of the next generation of travel, and that our expertise is second-to-none at a time when the country is looking to develop global trading links,” said Prof. Paul Newman, co-founder of Oxbotica and director of the Oxford Robotics Institute. “We hope and expect that the technology that DRIVEN is developing will be adopted by vehicle manufacturers all over the world as the first wave of AVs comes to market. Our work on display here today could revolutionise people’s lives, and the UK will get to share in an industry that could be worth billions in the years ahead.”