Project Endeavour has concluded its multi-city demonstration of Autonomous Vehicle (AV) services with a final on-road trial in Greenwich, London.
To mark the end of this wide-ranging initiative, more than 100 members of the public were able to schedule demonstration rides in Oxbotica’s vehicles, with consortium partners DG Cities surveying confidence and trust in the technology before and after to analyse perception of AV safety. The event also offered a virtual reality experience to explore what it’s like to be in an AV as it moves through a typical urban setting.
Launched in March 2019, Project Endeavour is the U.K.’s first multi-city demonstration of autonomous vehicle services and capability, beginning in Oxford, before visiting Birmingham, and ending in London.
It was designed to accelerate the deployment of AV services across the U.K. by creating a flexible, scalable model that will make the deployment process quicker, easier, and more efficient, while maintaining the highest safety standards.
The Endeavour consortium, which is part-funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, is being led by Oxbotica in collaboration with DG Cities, Immense, TRL, BSI, and Oxfordshire County Council.
A fleet of six Ford Mondeo vehicles were deployed during the demonstration to replicate how an autonomous mobility service may operate in an urban environment. Integrated with Oxbotica’s world-leading autonomy software platform, the vehicles completed a five-mile urban route around Greenwich’s busy streets, giving partners the opportunity to model the complex and busy network and exposing the vehicles to varied traffic and weather conditions.
Transport planners and local authorities also used the trials to understand how autonomy can fill mobility gaps in urban and rural settings, and how to support communities in accessing the new technology while playing a role in the long-term sustainability of cities.
“The London demonstration concludes the on-road trials phase of Project Endeavour,” Trevor Dorling, Managing Director of DG Cities, said. “The results of the project will allow the project partners to further advance the deployment of AV services safely and at scale, addressing some of the major transport challenges cities face today and in the future.”
Ahead of the trials, the U.K. public said that in-vehicle safety and the safety record of the service provider were the top two most important considerations when choosing future mobility providers, ranking ahead of cost, cleanliness, and availability. Post-trial data will be studied to understand if experiencing the technology improves the acceptance of AVs.
“We are also excited that we are able to offer the public the opportunity to ride in one of the Project Endeavour autonomous vehicles during our trials in the Royal Borough of Greenwich,” Dorling added. “Their feedback will give us valuable insights on how we need to keep adapting both the technology and its deployment in cities in years to come.”