British autonomous vehicle software company Oxbotica has completed what it claims to be the first deployment of a zero-occupancy, fully autonomous, electric vehicle on publicly accessible roads in Europe.
The all-electric AppliedEV vehicle, driven by Oxbotica technology, is now operating in Oxford with no on-board driver, marking a significant step in commercialising AV technology. The target is to launch a fully autonomous delivery service with grocery fulfilment and delivery company Ocado from 2023.
Oxbotica says the Oxford trial marks the start of its acceleration of commercial deployment of autonomous vehicles globally. Working with partners, such as ZF, bp and NEVS, it will enable autonomous passenger shuttles and industry-specific platforms, all driven by Oxbotica’s core product: Oxbotica Driver.
Oxbotica Driver uses a combination of radar vision and laser-based sensors to provide the vehicle with a rich understanding of its surroundings, with multiple AI continuously checking and explaining decisions.This process is a foundational requirement for the safe deployment of zero-occupancy autonomous vehicles and underpins the development of innovative insurance solutions for the future of transportation.
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.”
The landmark achievement follows two years of extensive trials by Oxbotica to define its robust safety case and develop its system architecture, in both off and on-road operations across the UK, Europe and North America.
It is also a significant milestone for the insurance market and the development of insurance solutions for autonomous vehicles as part of the UK’s evolving mobility network. The insurance programme, arranged by broker Marsh and created by Apollo Group’s ibott initiative through its MGA in partnership in the UK with insurer Aioi Nissay Dowa Europe, is the first of its kind in the UK and is tailored specifically for the risks associated with Level 4 autonomy on open roads.
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.”
Alex Harvey, Chief of Advanced Technology at Ocado Technology, “This is a fantastic milestone and we are delighted to see Oxbotica making significant progress towards zero-occupancy goods deliveries. We continue to collaborate closely with Oxbotica and are excited about providing this transformational capability to Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) partners at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Gavin Jackson, Oxbotica CEO, concluded: “This Europe-first trial positions the UK as the number one destination for autonomous vehicle development and leapfrogs us towards commercialisation and the subsequent economic benefits available in this hyper-growth technology category. Autonomous vehicles will create billions of pounds in new revenues and generate thousands of high-skilled jobs, while helping cities and businesses meet their targets for carbon reductions. Our zero-occupancy, all-electric, fully autonomous prototype is exactly the new-type vehicle that will form the mainstay of the transportation industry for decades to come.”