For the first time, People in London and Edinburgh will experience self-driving vehicle services thanks to government backing for 3 “world-leading” public trials by 2021.
Each pilot will combine the strengths of leading names from business, technology and academia – including Jaguar Land Rover, Addison Lee, Fusion Processing, Oxbotica, and the universities of Nottingham and the West of England – and support the government’s ambition to have self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021 through the modern Industrial Strategy and Future of Mobility Grand Challenge.
All the projects will include social behavioural research to further explore how driverless technology can seamlessly integrate into society, with the findings applied to the development for future autonomous service models.
Project CAV Forth
An Autonomous Bus Service from Park & Ride Across Forth Bridge to Edinburgh Park Train & Tram Interchange Fusion Processing (lead), Uni of West of Eng., Alexander Dennis, Edin. Napier Uni. & ESP Systex, Transport Scotland, Stagecoach. Total: £6.09 million, £4.35 million grant.
Project CAV Forth, led by Fusion Processing, will bring together organisations from across the UK to develop a high capacity Autonomous Bus Pilot Service across the Forth Bridge – a UNESCO World Heritage site. The project will convert five full-size Alexander Dennis single decker manually driven busses into autonomous vehicles. These self-driving buses will provide a service capable of carrying up to 42 passengers 14miles across the Forth Bridge to Edinburgh Park Train and Tram interchange. With buses every 20 minutes this could provide an estimated 10,000 weekly journeys, and support the case for rolling out similar services across the UK.
Project Apollo, led by Addison Lee with Oxbotica, Nominet, Immense Solutions and DG Cities, will develop and deploy 4 autonomous taxi pilot services, that increase in complexity and distance in Greenwich, London.
The project will build on the self-driving technology under development by Oxbotica as part of an existing Government-backed project called ‘DRIVEN’, combining 6 vehicles from that project with a further 9 new vehicles to provide the 4 pilot customer services: (i) feed North Greenwich Station (ii) a Hub-to-hub (no public transport) service (iii) a restricted on-demand service and (iv) a ‘go anywhere in borough service’. Once proven this project will lead to the launch of a public service in 2021 (or sooner) whilst bringing together leading UK organisations and helping strengthen the UK Connected and Autonomous Vehicle supply chain in the emerging global market.
ServCity project, led by Jaguar Land Rover with Addison Lee, Transport Systems Catapult, TRL and the University of Nottingham, will develop a mobility service based in London using 6 autonomous Land Rover Discovery vehicles. Building on expertise from the Government-backed UK Autodrive project, the consortium will test and further develop existing JLR sensing and autonomy systems in Coventry and the Midlands before deploying a pilot of a premium mobility service across four Greater London boroughs.
The project will also develop analytical models to understand and demonstrate the wider positive impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles on cities – from reduced air pollution to easing congestion.
The government has also announced £25 million funding to further strengthen the environment for testing and development of self-driving technologies in the UK. The selected projects following a competitive process and will share the government grant through the fourth round of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Intelligent Mobility Fund.
The Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles was established in 2015 to ensure the UK is a world-leader in the development and testing of self-driving technologies. £250 million, match-funded by industry, is being invested by the government, propelling self-driving technology in the UK.
To further strengthen the environment for testing and development of self-driving technologies, £18 million is also being awarded to four successful projects through the Meridian 2 and 3 competition. The Meridian 2 project will develop a digital platform to allow the exchange of data which technology developers and fleet operators can use to deliver better transport systems, while the Meridian 3 projects will focus on developing controlled test environments for highways, and public test environments for highways and rural roads.
The government visualizes that a year on from the launch of the modern Industrial Strategy, these projects will fulfil its ambition to see self-driving vehicles on UK roads.