Autonomous vehicle software provider Oxbotica is trialling five fully autonomous vehicles in London as part of the Driven consortium, a £13.6m (US$16.7m) research project that seeks to address fundamental challenges facing the self-driving vehicle development community, such as insurance, cybersecurity and data privacy.
The AVs driving on London’s complex and congested streets are required to make 150 independent vehicle detections every second and can detect traffic lights in 1/2,000th of a second – faster than the human eye, according to Oxbotica.
The firm has completed extensive analysis in London since initial trials in the Borough of Hounslow in Dec 2018, with the capital proving the ideal test ground due to its classical architecture and complex road networks; it ranked as the sixth most congested city in the world and records over 30,000 road casualties per year.
The advanced journey learnings from London can then be applied to improve safety around the globe through the creation of machine learning algorithms and advanced vision perception technologies.
Paul Newman, founder of Oxbotica, said, “As humans, we get better at driving the more experience we have, but we don’t share our learnings with each other. This is the covenant for autonomous vehicles. They learn as a community in a way that we don’t. If we, humans, have a mishap, or see something extraordinary, we aren’t guaranteed to make our neighbor or colleague a better driver.
“Even if we could learn from each other like computers can, we can’t share at scale, across vast numbers, and we can’t do it all the time. That’s what our AI software will do for every host vehicle wherever it is in the world. Providing life-long shared learning, and with it in-depth, and continually improved knowledge of the local area – allowing our cars to not just read the roads but to predict common hazards with ever greater sophistication.”
The Oxbotica software utilizes two strands to achieve universal autonomy: Selenium and Caesium. Selenium is an end-to-end solution that works anywhere, at any time, and is the equivalent of a computer operating system, pulling in data from the sensors fitted to each self-driving vehicle. The data from Selenium is then uploaded to Caesium, a data and vehicle management tool that allows learning to be shared between vehicles anywhere in the world without the need for human input.