Private hire taxi company Addison Lee Group and self-driving vehicle software developer Oxbotica have agreed a wide-ranging strategic alliance that aims to introduce autonomous vehicles to London’s streets by 2021.
Under the agreement, the two companies will collaborate on the development, deployment and operation of autonomous vehicles with a view to providing customers with self-driving services in the UK capital within the next three years.
The long-term aim is to take greater share of an expanding car services market for connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology, which the Transport Systems Catapult forecasts will be worth £28bn (US$36.3bn) in the UK by 2035. Addison Lee aims to use its well-known brand to offer affordable, quality, automated rideshared services to passengers currently underserved by existing driven transportation modes, as well as explore opportunities to provide corporate shuttles, airport and campus-based services.
The two UK-based companies will pool their expertise, technology and on-the-ground resources to explore self-driving car services that are safe and environmentally friendly, and which deliver the high-quality customer experiences. Making use of the strengths of each partner, the alliance will open new opportunities to reach consumers in new markets and segments starting in London, followed by New York and other international markets.
Addison Lee and Oxbotica will work together to create detailed, digital maps of more than 250,000 miles (402,340km) of public roads in and around the capital. These maps will record the position of every kerb, road sign, landmark and traffic light in preparation for the deployment of autonomous cars.
Addison Lee recently set up and led the MERGE Greenwich consortium, a government-funded project investigating how autonomous vehicle ridesharing could be introduced to complement existing public transport services. Using the London Borough of Greenwich as a model, the project found that by 2025, self-driving, rideshared services could assist significantly with addressing the UK capital’s transportation challenges and make it easier and more accessible for citizens to move around. In parallel, Oxbotica is leading the DRIVEN consortium, and has already launched a fleet of vehicles currently running autonomously in public trials in London and Oxford.
“This represents a huge leap towards bringing autonomous vehicles into mainstream use on the streets of London, and eventually in cities across the UK and beyond,” commented Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica. “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. Together, we are taking a major step in delivering the future of mobility.”
Andy Boland, CEO of Addison Lee Group, added, “Urban transport will change beyond recognition in the next 10 years with the introduction of self-driving services, and we intend to be at the very forefront of this change by acting now. Autonomous technology holds the key to many of the challenges we face in transport. By providing ridesharing services, we can help address congestion, free space used for parking, and improve urban air quality through zero-emission vehicles. We are proud to be partnering with Oxbotica, and together we will continue our British success story in how we revolutionize the way people get around cities.”