Smart Transport

Autonomous vehicle report identifies deployment impact on cities

A report published by Oxbotica, Imperial College London and Transport for London (TfL) has identified the potential impact of autonomous vehicle (AV) services deployment on major UK cities.

The Shift Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Report includes the creation of advanced traffic modelling to predict the demand and impact of autonomy on congestion, emissions, public transport, and ride-sharing services.

As part of the project, Oxbotica has developed driver safety guidelines, an AV build order, and a third-party data infrastructure system to further help operators take proof-of-concept autonomous demonstrations to larger scale service deployments in the UK.

Dr Graeme Smith, senior vice president of External Affairs at Oxbotica, said: “Autonomy, whether we’re talking purely in terms of transportation or any of its various other use cases, is set to transform the world we live in.

“The knowledge gap has previously been how autonomous vehicles impact the area where they are deployed, but with Shift we have been able to begin to understand the nuts and bolts of real-world deployment.

“The outputs of Shift will enable any third party – from OEMs through to owners and operators – to deploy autonomous services in an urban environment in a way that suits their business model. This is the key to unlocking the true potential of autonomy.”

Outcomes from the report are being used as part of Project Endeavour - a project designed to accelerate and scale the adoption of AV services across the UK through advanced simulations alongside trials on public roads across three major cities.

The build order and data infrastructure developed through Shift has been deployed by Oxbotica on a fleet of six vehicles which began autonomously completing a nine-mile round trip from Oxford Parkway station to Oxford’s main train station last year.

Dr Panagiotis Angeloudis, reader in transport systems and logistics at Imperial College London, said: “The deployment of autonomous vehicle technologies has the potential to revolutionise mobility in cities around the world.

“Through the Shift project we had an opportunity to study their potential impacts on the rest of the transport network in an unprecedented level of detail.

“Through the tools that were developed, stakeholders can now plan better for the deployment of autonomous vehicle technologies and be better prepared for the future.”

The UK autonomous vehicle accelerator, Zenzic has put together safety guidance to create a framework for testing driverless vehicles on public roads.

Michael Hurwitz, director of innovation at TfL, believes that being part of modelling projects like Shift can help operators’ understanding of how the technology, and the frameworks and environment that surround it, need to develop going forwards.

“This is key to ensuring that any application in the future, be it in London or elsewhere in the UK, is safe, inclusive and works for all,” he said.

Earlier this year, Oxbotica announced it raised £35 million in a new round of investment to help roll out its autonomous vehicle software globally.

Shift is funded jointly by government and industry, with a £1.58 million grant awarded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered through Innovate UK.

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