Self-driving car trials to hit UK roads in 2019

A British self-driving car project aims to have a fleet of driverless vehicles on the road in two years, after receiving a $13 million grant from the UK government.

The project is led by Oxbotica, an Oxford University robotics spin-out. Tests will take place alongside the startup’s driverless pod trial in London and at RACE, a robotics center in Oxford, run by the university.

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Initially, Oxbotica plans to test 10 vehicles and build a communication platform for the fleet. One car will be able to alert others to accidents on the road in near real-time, removing the need for constant Internet updates.

“We’re moving from the singleton autonomous vehicle to fleets of autonomous vehicles – and what’s interesting is what data the vehicles share with one another, when, and why,” said Prof. Paul Newman, of Oxford University, to Trusted Reviews.

New ride-hailing app?

Oxbotica also plans to develop a ride-hailing app for the autonomous fleet, but did not say when it intends to launch the app. Uber has already started testing self-driving pickups in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

The grant is part of a $20 million investment into autonomous projects by the British government. Nissan, a major auto manufacturer in the U.K., received funds for its own self-driving project in London.

The Queen’s Speech last year called for the legalization of autonomous vehicles and several manufacturers and startups have come forward to trial self-driving cars across the country. Volvo and Jaguar Range Rover are the two major manufacturers that have ongoing programs in the country.

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