Britain’s contribution towards ‘driverless cars’ has reached an important milestone following the successful completion of trials in the complex urban settings of London without any human input. This new development is courtesy of Oxford-based Driven autonomous project that recently completed its week-long trials round the busy streets of Stratford, London.
The 30-month government supported project, in fact, ended its trials with a week-long demonstration around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in a fleet of driver-less Ford Mondeo prototypes. As things stood, there was a safety driver present in all the prototypes according to the team behind the Driven project, the technology has now reached a stage wherein autonomous vehicles with a safety driver can operate smoothly and safely in certain complex real-world traffic conditions.
The Driven team, which includes people from the authority planning, insurance, cyber-security and data trading, is said to have taken a broad approach to address the challenges of self-driving vehicles in busy cities, going beyond the technical obstacles and examining the driverless ‘ecosystem’. The autonomous project has incurred interest from the Minister of State at the Department for Transport, George Freeman MP who wants to “drive the roll-out of self-driving vehicles and continue to support companies like Driven”. According to Ozgur Tohumcu, CEO of Oxbotica, one of the leading autonomous vehicle software firms, such trials would “further demonstrate to the wider UK public that connected and autonomous vehicles will play an important role in the future of transport”.
In other words, it is safe to say that driverless cars have made a big leap forward towards plying on public roads and besides electrification; autonomous tech is the upcoming foremost trend in the development of vehicles. However, the road infrastructure needs to get up to speed which means there is still some time before driverless cars become the norm.