Britons to be the first to try Oxbotica driverless cars
Over the next three weeks the UK public will be the first people to test the much anticipated driverless cars.
The cars, developed by Oxbotica, will follow a short two mile route around Greenwich, London. The shuttle travels no faster than 10mph, so safety during the testing is of paramount importance.
The shuttles will seat 4 passengers and does not feature a wheel or brake pedal, meaning the shuttles are completely automated without any passenger interference possible.
The device is said to be controlled by a computer programme and should react to the world around it. For instance stopping when a person or animal steps in front of it.
It does so by using five cameras and three lasers that detect the environment surrounding the vehicle (see left image). The vehicle can see 100 metres ahead to plan its route, and can use an emergency brake if necessary.
There will however be an expert on board to stop the shuttle should it not react as planned.
The cars are all part of a larger plan to improve travel links in London, and eventually on a wider scale across the country and maybe even globe.
These are not the first automated vehicles to be trialled though.
In August 2016 Singapore announced they were to be the first to offer an automated taxi service to the public via an app. This is all down to the nuTonomy company, claiming to be the first.
In January 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada an automated bus was trialled along Fremont Street, carrying passengers to and fro amongst the busy traffic of Vegas city.
A recent trial by Oxbotica in Milton Keynes saw the automated shuttle ferrying journalists around as the first to trial their product.
There are several other companies developing autonomous vehicles as we speak, such as Google, BMW, Bosch, GM Cruise, Delphi Automotive Systems, Ford, Waymo, Honda, Nissan North America, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Volkswagen in America, and Volvo in the UK.
So I think it’s safe to say we will see a fair few automated models and transport systems making their debut within the next few years.
There have been worries and concerns that automated cars will just assist to an already growing complacency and dependence upon technology within the public. Could this be the future old Sci-Fi films promise, or is this just human laziness developing to the next level? Tell us what you think.