Funding of £8.6 million will allow AI software company Oxbotica to ramp up testing of autonomous vehicles on UK roads.
The DRIVEN project, funded through Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, will put a fleet of 6 autonomous vehicles, driven by Oxbotica’s software, into public trials in Oxford and London.
The company already has vehicles on Oxford’s roads on a daily basis, with cars set to hit London’s streets imminently.
Creating the ‘brain’ of autonomous vehicles
Oxbotica spun out of Oxford University in 2014, developing its technology over a series of Innovate UK-supported projects.
As a result, the company now produces 2 pieces of software. The first is Selenium, the ‘brain’ of an autonomous vehicle. It combines data from vehicle sensors to help the vehicle answer the questions; “where am I?”, “what’s around me?” and “what do I do?”
The second is Caesium, a cloud-based fleet management system to co-ordinate multiple vehicles and allow them to exchange data without human interaction.
The most recent DRIVEN project was carried out by partners including communications firms Nominet and Telefonica, insurance provider AXA XL, and transport and council bodies like Transport for London and Oxfordshire County Council among others.
Despite the project’s success, the public is unlikely to be in control of autonomous vehicles any time soon.
Oxbotica’s CEO Graeme Smith believes the public will initially benefit through the use of autonomous vehicles in public service and commercial ventures.
To be available for use by the public, autonomous vehicles need to be fully joined up in their operation and communication. This was one of the primary aims of the DRIVEN project.
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