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First public trials of self-driving cars start in UK

Self-driving vehicles have undergone trials on UK streets for the first time today (11 October).

UK's first public driverless car trials in Milton Keynes

The LUTZ Pathfinder Project has spent 18 months developing the technology for the autonomous driving system trialled today in Milton Keynes

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) is testing the vehicles on pavements around Milton Keynes train station and business district as part of the LUTZ Pathfinder project.

The vehicles are run by software developed by Oxford University’s Oxford Robotics Institute and integrated by Oxford University spinout company Oxbotica on to an electric vehicle. Dubbed Selenium, the software uses data from cameras and LIDAR systems to navigate its way around the environment.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Today’s first public trials of driverless vehicles in our towns is a ground-breaking moment and further evidence that Britain is at the forefront of innovation.

“The global market for autonomous vehicles present huge opportunities for our automotive and technology firms. And the research that underpins the technology and software will have applications way beyond autonomous vehicles.”

Graeme Smith, CEO at Oxbotica, added: “The TSC’s Lutz pathfinder project is a great example of Oxbotica’s autonomy software leading the way for self-driving vehicles here in the UK.  This is a landmark step to bringing self-driving vehicles to the streets of the UK and the world.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.