Driverless cars are set to be trialled on British motorways in 2019.
Technological companies are set to test six vehicles between London and Oxford. They will also complete shorter journeys on smaller public roads to see how the cars cope with different manoeuvres and locations.
The testing programme has been named DRIVE and the cars will include various intercommunicating vehicles with ‘Level 4 autonomy’. Theoretically speaking, the cars will be tested to see how well they function without a human driver on board. However, there will be someone on board while the tests are being done in case of an emergency.
‘No connected and autonomous vehicle trial of this level of complexity and integration as ever been attempted anywhere in the world’, says Oxbotica, an artificial intelligence company that’s a lead member of the consortium.
The project is set to start this month and will end in 2019. It has been put into place to polish the kinks that are in the way of developing advanced robot cars. The project will also include how insurance companies would take a driverless car on board and the handling of the cybersecurity risks that are associated with these types of cars.
While the programme is running it will be primarily funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.
Professor Paul Newman, Head of the Oxford Robotics Institute and a lead member of the consortium says the project ‘brings a host of new questions surrounding the way these vehicles will communicate with each other. We’re moving from the singleton autonomous vehicle, to fleets of autonomous vehicles – and what’s interesting to us at the Oxford Robotics Institute is what data the vehicles share with one another, when, and why.’