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Give 'bots a chance: Driverless cars to be trialled between London and Oxford

They'll be on the motorways as well

Robot drives a car. Conceptual illustration from Shutterstock

Driverless cars using UK-made software will be tested on public roads and even motorways between London and Oxford.

AI firm Oxbotica’s tech is at the heart of the Driven consortium’s latest driverless car trial, which will see manned-but-autonomous cars testing their software.

Starting in the next week, the 30-month trial will concentrate on gathering data from fleets of autonomous vehicles as well as seeing how individual vehicles perform in real-world road conditions.

Professor Paul Newman, head of the Oxford Robotics Institute based at the University of Oxford, and one of Oxbotica’s founders, said in a canned statement: “Driven is the first of its kind and brings a host of new questions surrounding the way these vehicles will communicate with each other.”

“No company, group or consortium of autonomy experts has ever attempted what Driven is planning over the next 30 months,” added Oxbotica chief exec Dr Graeme Smith.

The trial is backed by an £8.6m government grant. Amongst the Driven consortium’s 10 members are re-insurer XL Catlin, Nominet and the Atomic Energy Authority.

Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomous vehicle control software will be at the heart of the cars used on the trial. The same software has been under trial in Greenwich during experiments with autonomous cars in the London borough. ®


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