Oxford, UK is piloting AVs
Oxford and Oxfordshire (county) were the first local authority in the UK to address autonomous vehicles in official transport plans. Efforts to prepare for AVs spearheaded by the June 2016 Science Transit Strategy include a massive LIDAR mapping effort leveraging street cleaning vehicles and technology provided by the Univeristy of Oxford’s Robotics Institute (ORI).
Thanks to a rich ecosystem of university spin-offs, the city is playing a central role in the UK’s AV development plans. Some of the early ventures include Oxbotica, founded by two ORI professors, which is perfecting an AV operating system called ‘Selenium’. StreetDrone, a smaller firm, is developing an open source AV R&D toolkit aimed at the higher education market.
AV piloting in Oxford will get underway through the DRIVEN project, a consortium involving the city, Obxotica, Oxford University, think tank TRL, and Transport for London. With some £8.9 million ($11.8 million) in UK government funding, DRIVEN will deploy a fleet of Level 4 autonomous vehicles for public road testing in Oxfordshire in summer 2018. The project will culminate in 2019 with a series of end-to-end journeys on the M40 motorway between London and Oxford. Oxbotica will be providing most of the hardware and software for the trial.