Aviva and Darwin Innovation Group have registered a passenger shuttle for use in autonomous vehicle trials.
The shuttle, created by Navya, will be used to demonstrate the potential of self-driving cars and gather information about their operation, Aviva said in a statement. The insurer will use data from these trials to improve its current motor insurance offering, as it seeks to provide comprehensive cover for autonomous vehicles and associated technologies once they begin to operate on British roads.
The shuttle was introduced Thursday at a public event held outside Aviva’s head office in London. While the shuttle was not in operation at the event, it gave the public a chance to view the vehicle and learn about the programme.
“It’s exciting to bring this autonomous vehicle to our London headquarters so that people can witness the future of mobility in the making,” said Nick Amin, chief operating officer of Aviva. “There is no better place to unveil the vehicle than at Aviva with its long heritage in motor insurance, dating back to the very earliest vehicles. This is a great example of Aviva serving as an enabler – in this case, for important advancements in mobility – by providing insurance for the shuttle to be used on the UK’s roads.”
Darwin, which signed a five-year partnership with Aviva in June, began conducting activities involving self-driving technology around two years ago. Its work with connected and autonomous vehicle (CAVs) is supported by the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency.
Darwin is also working with O2 at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus to run the O2-Darwin SatCom Lab, where various organisations can test and refine self-driving technology.
“We are delighted to have registered this purpose-built connected autonomous shuttle for use on publicly accessible roads at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire,” said Sophia Ward, Darwin’s operations manager. “This is a significant regulatory milestone on the road to making CAV mobility a reality, and an exciting step on our innovative journey to realising the potential of ubiquitous communications. … We now look forward to announcing future trials involving this exciting new technology soon.”