Consortium drives forward in autonomous vehicle initiative

Coalition of experts includes AXA XL

Consortium drives forward in autonomous vehicle initiative

Motor & Fleet

By Terry Gangcuangco

With a safety driver present, autonomous vehicles can operate without a hitch in urban settings such as London – that is the takeaway being highlighted by the DRIVEN consortium, which has conducted a week-long demonstration around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford as part of the government-supported £13.6 million initiative.

Described as the most ambitious of its kind, the jointly funded programme demonstrated the capabilities of a fleet of self-driving vehicles to confirm that they can perform smoothly, safely, and legally under complex real-life situations.

DRIVEN is fuelled by autonomous software from Oxbotica and leverages the expertise and backing of AXA XL, Nominet, Oxford Robotics Institute, Oxfordshire County Council, the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments), Telefonica, Transport Research Laboratory, and Transport for London.     

“The completion of the DRIVEN project marks a significant milestone for the future of autonomous vehicles in the UK,” asserted Dr Graeme Smith, DRIVEN programme director and Oxbotica senior vice president of external affairs.

“Establishing Britain as a world leader for innovative technologies has been at the heart of our mission and we’re incredibly proud of the steps we have taken to help make AVs a reality on our roads.”  

DRIVEN, which enjoyed matched funding from UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and industry, has focused on completing fully autonomous routes within London and Oxford.

Commenting on the development, George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, said self-driving technology has the scope to revolutionise the way people travel, with potentially profound benefits for road safety, accessibility, and convenience.

“We want to drive the roll-out of self-driving vehicles and continue to support innovators developing this ground-breaking technology,” he stated. “The success of trials like project DRIVEN underpins our Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, highlighting our ongoing support for innovation, research, and the trialling of exciting new technology which cements our position as a global leader in this space.”

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