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Autonomous vehicle report examines deployment impact on UK cities

The report makes use of advanced traffic modelling to predict the demand and impact of autonomy on congestion, emissions, public transport and ride-sharing services.

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An Oxbotica public trial that took place in Germany
An Oxbotica public trial that took place in Germany

Driverless vehicles potentially face several key challenges before they can be deployed safely and efficiently across major UK cities and other urban environments, a new report finds.

 

The Shift Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Report, published by Oxbotica, identifies a range of issues for fleet operators rolling out AVs including paucity of charging infrastructure, and interaction with existing public transport.

 

Impact of autonomy

 

The report, which makes use of advanced traffic modelling to predict the demand and impact of autonomy on congestion, emissions, public transport and ride-sharing services, also warned of a “limited travel range”, coping with vehicle downtime and determining optimal fleet size as other considerations that need to be addressed.

 

As part of the project, Oxbotica has developed first-of-its-kind driver safety guidelines, an AV build order and a third-party data infrastructure system to further help operators take proof-of-concept autonomous demonstrations to larger scale service deployments in the UK. Imperial College London and Transport for London (TfL) are other partners in the project.

 

Outcomes from the report are already being used as part of Project Endeavour – a programme designed to accelerate and scale the adoption of AV services across the UK through advanced simulations alongside trials on public roads across three major cities.

“The knowledge gap has previously been how autonomous vehicles impact the area where they are deployed, but with Shift we have been able to begin to understand the nuts and bolts of real-world deployment”

The build order and data infrastructure developed through Shift has been deployed by Oxbotica on a fleet of six vehicles which began autonomously completing a nine-mile round trip from Oxford Parkway station to Oxford’s main train station last year.

 

“Autonomy, whether we’re talking purely in terms of transportation or any of its various other use cases, is set to transform the world we live in. The knowledge gap has previously been how autonomous vehicles impact the area where they are deployed, but with Shift we have been able to begin to understand the nuts and bolts of real-world deployment,” said Dr Graeme Smith, senior VP of external affairs, Oxbotica.

 

“The outputs of Shift will enable any third party – from OEMs through to owners and operators – to deploy autonomous services in an urban environment in a way that suits their business model. This is the key to unlocking the true potential of autonomy.”

 

Shift, a collaboration between Oxbotica, Imperial College London, and Transport for London (TfL), is funded jointly by government and industry, with a £1.58m grant awarded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and delivered through Innovate UK.

 

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