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Green light given for London driverless car data gathering

FiveAI, a company leading the UK’s charge to develop technology for driverless vehicles, is introducing data gathering cars on the streets of the Boroughs of Bromley and Croydon as part of its venture to bring a shared driverless car service to London.

Five human-driven cars will gather data on London roads ahead of driverless cars being deployed

Five human-driven cars will gather data on London roads ahead of driverless cars being deployed

The 10-month data gathering exercise is designed to enable FiveAI to gain a comprehensive understanding of the road environment and the behaviour of road users such as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The research will then inform the development of FiveAI’s forthcoming shared driverless car service.

FiveAI claims its service, with a targeted launch in 2019, will be safer than human drivers once operational and using driverless vehicles and is designed for individuals currently driving some or all of their daily commute.

The five data gathering cars will not, however, be autonomous and will be driven by fully trained safety drivers and will operate in the same way as any normal road-going vehicle.

Compliant with the latest general data protection laws, FiveAI’s data gathering vehicles feature what it claims is an obvious array of front-facing sensors on the roof that are clearly branded to ensure full transparency.

“For our service to eventually operate in London, we have to learn about the road layout, topology and traffic flow,” comments Ben Peters, co-founder and VP product for FiveAI.

“As with any vehicle on the road, safety is paramount and that’s why all of our vehicles will be driven by fully-trained safety drivers. We believe that autonomous vehicles will be many times safer than human drivers, and this data gathering phase is a vitally important step towards making that a reality. By supporting London’s transport objectives with a shared driverless car service, FiveAI can play a crucial role in reducing congestion, emissions, incidents, and the cost and time of journeys to benefit all Londoners.”

The trial aims to show that the driverless technology has sufficiently matured to be safe in urban environments and can co-exist with human drivers, other road users and pedestrians.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.