A fleet of properly driverless, fully autonomous cars should be allowed out onto the motorways of the UK by the end of 2019, backed by a development fund of over £8m from the Government's Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Yes, we have one of those.
A group of companies operating under the banner of DRIVEN is to use the Culham Science Centre test site and its 10km of private example roads and junctions to develop its vehicles, with the ambitious aim of creating: "...a fleet of vehicles to operate on public roads, with complete autonomy, within the next two and half years."
The end result will be a fleet outing from London to Oxford, on motorways and everything, with the cars hopefully doing all the driving without the need for any input from the safety driver who will be sitting behind the steering wheel just in case anything random happens and a physical fallguy is required.
Another vehicular acronym is involved too, with RACE -- Remote Applications in Challenging Environments -- providing help with AI and robotic systems. RACE's director Rob Buckingham said: "DRIVEN reinforces our aspiration to enable connected and autonomous vehicles to be widely adopted. Starting in Oxfordshire we are already thinking about how autonomous vehicles fit within a modern transport plans for both Oxford and Didcot Garden Town. DRIVEN is a very important step on this journey." [GOV via BBC]
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