Driverless cars to be tested on UK motorways in 2019

Out-Law News | 26 Apr 2017 | 10:10 am | 1 min. read

Driverless cars will be tested on UK motorways before the end of 2019, according to a new consortium of organisations working together on the development of autonomous vehicles.

DRIVEN said a fleet of driverless vehicles, containing software built in the UK, will be tested on public roads over the next 30 months, including on motorways. The testing will culminate in an "end-to-end journey" from London to Oxford, it said.

The DRIVEN consortium is led by Oxbotica, an Oxford University spinout business, which carried out the first trial of a driverless vehicle in public spaces in the UK last autumn.

Other members of DRIVEN include RACE, a robotics technology centre at Culham Science Centre operated by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the Oxford Robotics Institute, insurer XL Catlin, Nominet, Telefonica, the Transport Research Laboratory, Oxfordshire County Council, Transport for London and Westbourne Communications.

Dr Graeme Smith, chief executive of Oxbotica, said: "No company, group or consortium of autonomy experts has ever attempted what DRIVEN is planning over the next 30-months. We are seeking to address some of the most fundamental challenges preventing the future commercial deployment of fully autonomous vehicles. I have full confidence in DRIVEN’s world-leading and internationally respected team of specialists to deliver this project."

DRIVEN has received more than £8 million in funding for its work from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), a special unit set up by the government to support the development of driverless cars testing and commercialisation in the UK. CCAV is a joint policy unit of the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In a statement, DRIVEN said: "Key challenges the consortium will address include: communication and data sharing between connected vehicles; connected and autonomous vehicles insurance modelling: risk profiling and the new cybersecurity challenges that this amount of data sharing will bring."