Project Endeavour, an autonomous vehicle trial in the UK, has concluded its multi-city demonstration of autonomous vehicle (AV) services with a final on-road trial in Greenwich, London.
During the trial, more than 100 members of the public were able to schedule demonstration rides in project participant Oxbotica’s vehicles, with consortium partner DG Cities surveying confidence and trust in the technology before and after, to analyze the perception of AV safety. The event also offered a virtual-reality experience to explore what it’s like to be in an AV as it moves through a typical urban setting.
Ahead of the trials, a survey showed that the UK public said in-vehicle safety and the safety record of the service provider were the top two most important considerations when choosing future mobility providers, ranking ahead of cost, cleanliness and availability. Post-trial data will be studied to understand if experiencing the technology improves the acceptance of AVs.
Project Endeavour, launched in March 2019, is the UK’s first multi-city demonstration of autonomous vehicle services and capabilities. It began in Oxford before visiting Birmingham and ending in London. It aims to accelerate the deployment of autonomous vehicle services across the UK by creating a flexible, scalable model that will make the deployment process quicker, easier and more efficient while maintaining safety standards.
The Endeavour consortium, which is part-funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, is being led by autonomous driving developer Oxbotica in collaboration with DG Cities, Immense, TRL, BSI and Oxfordshire County Council.
A fleet of six Ford Mondeo vehicles was deployed during the demonstration to replicate how an autonomous mobility service might operate in an urban environment. The vehicles, integrated with Oxbotica’s autonomy software platform, ran on an 8km urban route around Greenwich’s busy streets, allowing partners to model the complex and busy network and exposing the vehicles to varied traffic and weather conditions.
Transport planners and local authorities also used the trials to understand how autonomy can fill mobility gaps in urban and rural settings, and how to support communities in accessing the new technology while playing a role in the long-term sustainability of cities.
Trevor Dorling, managing director of DG Cities, commented, “The London demonstration concludes the on-road trials phase of Project Endeavour. The results of the project will allow the project partners to further advance the deployment of AV services safely and at scale, addressing some of the major transport challenges cities face today and in the future.
“We are also excited that we are able to offer the public the opportunity to ride in one of the Project Endeavour autonomous vehicles during our trials in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Their feedback will give us valuable insights on how we need to keep adapting both the technology and its deployment in cities in years to come.”