By Dr Graeme Smith, Programme Director – DRIVEN
Since 2017, a small consortium of forward-thinking UK companies have been developing key component technologies of the self-driving vehicle eco-system within an ambitious project called DRIVEN (www.drivenby.ai).
I’m delighted to announce that at the end of September there will be a week-long demonstration of the project at Lee Valley VeloPark in Stratford Olympic Park, London Borough of Newham as part of a showcase event. By demonstrating the ability of our self-driving vehicles to navigate themselves though this modern urban environment the consortium will showcase the significant progress on many fronts that has been made throughout the project.
DRIVEN has focused on developing and demonstrating world-leading autonomous vehicle capabilities in complex, urban environments. We have looked far beyond the car itself and as well as developing autonomous vehicles capable of operating at Level 4/5, we have also developed and proven a cloud-based eco-system which combines real-time insurance and risk assessment with cybersecurity over robust communication infrastructure. This holistic approach has enabled us to operate and co-ordinate a fleet of autonomous vehicles across a range of locations, with public road trials throughout Oxford and London.
From real-time insurance to cyber-security and data trading, this £13.6m R&D initiative has holistically addressed the fundamental real-world challenges facing self-driving vehicles. Finding answers to these necessary and challenging questions will be essential in securing a successful future of autonomous vehicles. With DRIVEN, we have played a leading role in taking the step towards such a future.
Led by Oxbotica, DRIVEN has brought together a coalition of experts from across industry and academia, including Nominet, AXA XL, Telefonica, TRL, the University of Oxford, RACE, Oxfordshire County Council and Cicero Group. The consortium itself builds upon an £8.6m grant from Innovate UK and it has been positive to see continued Government support for its approach to the autonomous vehicle landscape and broader support or UK-based innovation.
From Friday 27th September to Friday 4th October, we will be inviting key stakeholders, members of the public, and media representatives to attend a public exhibition and demo based at the Lee Valley VeloPark in Stratford. In addition to our demonstrations of the project and vehicles in Stratford, we plan to continue our dissemination activities further. Key consortium partner RACE – a UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) entity – will be hosting an event at Culham Science Centre on Thursday 3rd October to mark the opening of its new Pit Lane. At this event, DRIVEN cars will be on show and information available on the project and its successes over the past four years. Additionally, Oxfordshire County Council will be hosting an exhibition in Oxford, demonstrating the crucial work that took place outside of the Capital throughout the project.
Establishing the UK as a world leader for innovative technologies has been at the heart of DRIVEN’s mission and projects like this one will play a key role bolstering the national ambition of boosting the economy’s competitiveness and productivity. The culmination of the DRIVEN marks a significant milestone for the future of autonomous vehicles in the UK, complementing our existing status as world leaders in technology and innovation more broadly.
Through the innovative outlook of this unique project, the DRIVEN partners are uniquely positioned to lead the debate and further exploration of the wider implications of autonomous vehicles owing to the broad sector expertise of the consortium. The DRIVEN partners have world-leading expertise in the development, testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles and we look forward to sharing our expertise at these flagship events.
Dr Graeme Smith,
Project Lead, DRIVEN
Senior Vice-President, External Affairs, Oxbotica
What’s happening in Stratford?
DRIVEN vehicles are operating autonomously, with a safety driver behind the wheel, in and around Stratford with a base at the Lee Valley VeloPark. Between Friday 27th September and Friday 4th October there will be demos of the vehicles for key stakeholders and members of the press, alongside a public exhibition setting out further details of the DRIVEN project and the contribution of its consortium partners.
The exhibition will be open to the public from 27 September to 4 October 2019. Please feel free to come along and learn about the project for yourself!
How will other road users be affected?
Several vehicles will be operating on a pre-determined loop, beginning at Lee Valley VeloPark (see below) and each car will have a safety driver behind the wheel, monitoring the impact of the vehicles on other road users, and ready to intervene if needed.
Are the trials safe?
Safety is DRIVEN’s number one priority as a consortium, we would never undertake a trial without putting the necessary safety measures in space. We will be adhering to Transport for London’s guidelines throughout in order to promote safe and responsible trials in London. Though we have confidence in our vehicles’ autonomous capabilities, each car has a safety driver behind the wheel at all times, ready to intervene immediately should they need to do so. For more information on the safety considerations, please see the safety case infographic.
What data is being collected?
In general, DRIVEN vehicles have sensors that monitor the road environment, and we do record some sensor data to help us continually analyse and improve performance. Privacy of data is a priority of the DRIVEN project and the data collected during DRIVEN’s autonomous trials is done so under the strict requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).