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Oxbotica’s autonomy software will power a fleet of specially adapted Ford Mondeos to operate across a five-mile area of the city in varied traffic and weather conditions.
The UK city of Birmingham is the location for the next stage of the Government-backed Project Endeavour autonomous driving programme.
It will include a live trial with Oxbotica’s autonomy software powering a fleet of specially adapted Ford Mondeos to operate across a five-mile area in varied traffic and weather conditions.
The trials offer the Project Endeavour partners the opportunity to refine local deployment approaches as well as understand and model the complex and busy road network in Birmingham. As part of the deployment, Birmingham City Council is keen to understand the impact that autonomous vehicle services could have on areas with limited connectivity, and how improving access to employment hubs could boost job opportunities and reduce private vehicle use.
Project Endeavour is the UK’s first multi-city demonstration of autonomous vehicle services and capability. The Birmingham trials follow a successful deployment in Oxford and the project will culminate with a final demonstration at a showcase event in Greenwich in August 2021.
The vehicles are fitted with lidar, radar and stereo cameras and integrated with Oxbotica’s autonomy software platform. They are capable of level four autonomous driving and will operate in a five-mile area around Lea Hall station, between Birmingham International Airport and the city centre. During the trials, a professionally-trained safety driver will be in the vehicle, capable of resuming control, if necessary.
Trials will run throughout the day for several weeks, allowing Oxbotica’s autonomous vehicles to experience a range of traffic scenarios and weather conditions. The routes include roundabouts, traffic lights, and junctions in both industrial and residential areas – all providing their own individual scenarios and challenges for the autonomous vehicles to demonstrate capability.
“This stage of the mobility project is a new step for us, as Birmingham hosts our fleet of autonomous vehicles for the first time in real-life environments”
“Project Endeavour is a one-of-a-kind research project that is allowing us to learn about the challenges of deploying autonomous vehicles in multiple cities across the UK – a key part of being able to deploy services safely and at scale,” said Dr Graeme Smith, senior vice president, Oxbotica, and director of Project Endeavour.
He added: “This stage of the mobility project is a new step for us, as Birmingham hosts our fleet of autonomous vehicles for the first time in real-life environments, and there has been a huge amount of enthusiasm from the local authority in the UK’s second largest city ahead of the deployment.”
Launched in March 2019, the consortium project, part-funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, is being led by Oxbotica, in collaboration with DG Cities, Immense, TRL, BSI, and Oxfordshire County Council.
Smith continued: “So far, Project Endeavour has been a real collaborative effort, bringing everyone into the discussion: from local authorities, to road safety groups, transport providers, and, most importantly, the general public.”
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