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UK milestone in driverless car trials in London


Successful trials with self-driving cars were conducted on public roads with Ford Mondeos equipped by UK tech firm Oxbotica in Stratford, London. The consortium behind the Driven Programme, which is partially funded by governmental project, stated that the project exceeded the initial plan of trial by confirming that autonomous vehicles could operate in real-life situations in a large European city.

A team of local authority planners, insurers, cyber-security and data experts, as well as Oxbotica, have been conducting trials in Oxford to examine what they called the “ecosystem” around autonomous vehicles, such as potential problems with hackers, communications technology and the legal framework.

For now, the cars are operated with a safety driver in the front seat who is ready to take control and to intervene in difficult situations. Oxbotica said that first passenger trials of a separate venture, an autonomous ride-sharing taxi service planned with the cab firm ‘Addison Lee’ in London are planned to start in June 2020.

In the meantime, the first public demonstrations of Britain’s first full-size autonomous bus took place in Birmingham on a test route. The single-deckers will start trials carrying up to 42 passengers on a 15-mile route between Fife and Edinburgh as from the next year.

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