Project Endeavour autonomous vehicle trial heads to Birmingham
The UK Government-backed project will test its autonomous vehicles on Birmingham’s busy road network as it looks to advance driverless technology in the UK.
Project Endeavour will test its cars on Birmingham's busy road network Credit: Project Endeavour
Project Endeavour arrives in Birmingham this week, with the UK’s second largest city hosting the next phase of autonomous vehicle trials on public roads.
The trials offer the Project Endeavour partners the opportunity to refine local deployment approaches as well as understand and model a complex and busy road network such as the one in Birmingham.
Project Endeavour – a Government-backed mobility research project – is the UK’s first multi-city demonstration of autonomous vehicle services and capability. The Birmingham trials follow a successful deployment in Oxford and the project will culminate with a final demonstration at a showcase event in Greenwich, London in August 2021.
The Project Endeavour trial will feature four Ford Mondeo vehicles fitted with LiDAR, radar and stereo cameras and integrated with Oxbotica’s autonomy software platform. The fleet, capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, will operate in a five-mile area around Lea Hall station, between Birmingham International Airport and the city centre. During the trials, a professionally-trained safety driver will be in the vehicle, capable of resuming control if necessary.
Trials will run throughout the day for several weeks, allowing Oxbotica’s autonomous vehicles to experience a range of traffic scenarios and weather conditions. The routes include roundabouts, traffic lights, and junctions in both industrial and residential areas – all providing their own individual scenarios and challenges for the autonomous vehicles to demonstrate capability.
“Project Endeavour is a one-of-a-kind research project that is allowing us to learn about the challenges of deploying autonomous vehicles in multiple cities across the UK – a key part of being able to deploy services safely and at scale,” said Dr Graeme Smith, Senior Vice President at Oxbotica and Director of Project Endeavour.
“This stage of the mobility project is a new step for us, as Birmingham hosts our fleet of autonomous vehicles for the first time in real-life environments, and there has been a huge amount of enthusiasm from the local authority in the UK’s second largest city ahead of the deployment. So far, Project Endeavour has been a real collaborative effort, bringing everyone into the discussion: from local authorities to road safety groups, transport providers, and, most importantly, the general public.”