London set for autonomous ride sharing by 2021

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Autonomous ride sharing vehicles could be on London’s streets by 2021, following an agreement between Oxbotica and Addison Lee Group to accelerate the implementation of autonomous vehicles in the capital.

Oxbotica and Addison Lee to advance vehicle autonomy

The two companies will collaborate on the development, deployment and operation of customer focussed autonomous vehicles in London. The long-term aim is to take a greater share of the car services market for connected autonomous vehicle technology, which in the UK alone is forecast to be worth £28bn by 2035.

Oxbotica, which develops software for autonomous vehicles and Addison Lee Group, which provides premium car services, are set to create detailed, digital maps of over 250,000 miles of public roads in and around the capital that will record the position of every kerb, road sign, landmark and traffic light in preparation for the deployment of autonomous cars.

Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica, said: "This represents a huge leap towards bringing autonomous vehicles into mainstream use on the streets of London, and eventually in cities across the United Kingdom and beyond.

"Our partnership with Addison Lee Group represents another milestone for the commercial deployment of our integrated autonomous vehicle and fleet management software systems in complex urban transport conditions.”

Andy Boland, CEO of Addison Lee Group, said: "Autonomous technology holds the key to many of the challenges we face in transport. By providing ride-sharing services, we can help address congestion, free space used for parking and improve urban air quality through zero-emission vehicles.”

As well as ride-shared services for passengers, Addison Lee will investigate implementing the technology for corporate shuttles, airport and campus-based services.

In 2017 Addison Lee Group established and led the MERGE Greenwich consortium, a government-funded project investigating how autonomous vehicle ride-sharing could complement existing public transport services. The project found that by 2025, self-driving, ride-shared services could assist with addressing London’s transport challenges and make it easier and more accessible for people to move around. More on that story below.