Self-driving services could be operating in London by 2021
Detailed, digital maps of more than 250,000 miles of public roads in London will be created to record the position of every kerb, road sign, landmark and traffic light in preparation for the deployment of autonomous cars.
The two companies will collaborate on the development, deployment and operation of autonomous vehicles with a view to providing customers self-driving services in London by 2021.
The long-term aim is to take a greater share of the expanding car services market for connected autonomous vehicle technology, forecasted to be worth £28 billion in the UK by 2035.
Addison Lee Group aims to offer affordable ride-share services to passengers currently underserved by existing driven transport modes, and explore the opportunities within corporate shuttles, airport and campus-based services.
The companies will 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.
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.”
With private car ownership declining at the same time city populations are expanding, consumers are increasing their use of car services. This provides an opportunity for focused investment in future-looking technologies that, alongside traditional driven vehicles, will help meet this need. By leveraging the strengths of each partner, the alliance will open opportunities to reach consumers in new markets and segments starting in London, following into New York and other international markets.
Andy Boland, CEO of Addison Lee Group, said: “Urban transport will change beyond recognition in the next 10 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 Oxbotica and together we will continue our British success story in how we revolutionise the way people get around cities.”
Russell Goodenough, Client Managing Director, Transport Sector, at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said: “The future of transport is notoriously difficult to predict; however we’re seeing a clear move towards increasingly connected and autonomous cars becoming the norm in just a few years’ time. This presents an exciting challenge for those investing in the transportation sector. However, it’s clear that driverless cars throw up serious questions, including how we ensure a safe environment for their operation, does road infrastructure need to be updated to accommodate increasingly sophisticated vehicles, who is liable for insurance claims, and how can we ensure autonomous cars are not vulnerable to hacking or cyber-attack.
“Our latest research found that while 88 per cent of the public believe technology is driving societal change, and half believe that change is overwhelmingly positive, there are some areas of tech that they remain unsure about. For example, two-fifths would not be happy to be picked up by a self-driving car due to security and safety, whilst less than one in five would feel okay putting their child in a driverless car on their own for the school run. It is crucial that we begin to address these issues. Driverless cars could boost UK productivity by enabling employees to work while commuting, as well as reduce accidents on the road and the amount of land needed for parking. But, it’s up to everyone in the transport sector to come together to agree exactly how this technology will work in the UK.”