Driverless Car Trials Begin In UK

Thu 22nd Oct 2020

Roads across the United Kingdom are being used as a live test track from this week, as a government backed project sees ‘driverless’ vehicles used for the first time.

As part of Project Endeavour, six specially modified Ford Mondeos will take to the streets of Oxford, as part of a trial which is expected to run for a year and will be live in three major UK cities.

The autonomous vehicle technology has been developed by UK-based Oxbotica, and will provide one of the highest levels of driverless experience. Level 4 means the car can perform every action which a driver could do, although there is still a steering wheel and pedals should a human need to intervene.

The first phase of the trial will see the vehicles travel from Oxford’s Parkway station to the main train station in the city, a nine mile round trip. The vehicles will be travelling at all times of the day and night to ensure they experience different weather and light conditions, as well as varying traffic levels.

Camilla Fowler, head of automation at TRL, said: “Trials of Level 4 vehicles are an important milestone, keeping the UK at the head of the field in bringing the benefits of this technology into mainstream use.

“These exciting trials, and what we learn about assuring safety and encouraging interoperability, will open up new opportunities for many more research demonstrations across the UK, which are the forerunners to the full-scale public trials so eagerly awaited.”