Oxbotica completes first driverless car test on open roads

Oxbotica has completed its first fully autonomous, driverless vehicle test on publicly accessible roads in Oxford.

It builds on the back of two years of trials, which have seen the Oxford-based technology firm develop its systems in both off- and on-road trials across the UK, Europe and North America.

The fully electric vehicle is currently being operated with no on-board driver, but Oxbotica’s intention is for its first on-road business use with the Ocado Group to start delivering customer orders from 2023.

The vehicle is fully electric

Paul Newman, Oxbotica founder & CTO, said: “Oxbotica is changing the way people and goods move. Our goal is to be indistinguishable from perfect on safety, and this achievement alongside our partners is proof of that. It’s a historic moment for the UK, the transport and logistics sector, autonomous vehicle technology, and Oxbotica.”

Oxbotica’s technology uses a combination of radar and laser-based systems, which give the vehicle a ‘view’ of the area around it. From there, multiple artificial intelligence systems check the area and make decisions.

The test has also proven to be a breakthrough in terms of insurance. Oxbotica has worked with partners Marsh Apollo Group and with insurer Aioi Nissay Dowa Europe, to create coverage that is tailored directly towards the risks of taking a driverless vehicle onto the road.

A new type of insurance was developed for the vehicle too

Investment Minister Lord Grimstone said: “Oxbotica’s completion of Europe’s first zero-occupancy self-driving vehicle journey on the road is testament to the UK’s world class automotive sector. It is great to see a UK company at the forefront of technology that will deliver safety and convenience for the public.

“This exciting development will further strengthen the UK’s reputation as a leading destination to develop and deploy self-driving vehicles, as well as helping grow a sector that will support highly-skilled jobs across the country.”