SHIFT, a collaboration between Oxbotica, Imperial College London and TfL, has published its Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Report. It identifies the potential impact of rolling out autonomous vehicle services and the challenges facing fleet operators in the UK, such as coping with vehicle downtime, charging infrastructure, interaction with existing public transport, optimal fleet size and methods for reducing vehicle mileage by anticipating demand.
The project has also generated autonomous vehicle operator safety guidelines and created advanced traffic modelling that predicts the impact of autonomy on congestion, emissions, public transport and ride-sharing.
One of the aims of the project has been to provide the basis for building AVs efficiently and safely – producing a repeatable build order that details the hardware and engineering required to maximise trust in AV technology. SHIFT has been jointly funded by government and industry over the last 2 years, with a £1.58 million grant awarded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.
Following a successful trial of six Ford Mondeos autonomously completing 9-mile trips across Oxford using build order and data infrastructure developed through SHIFT, Oxbotica has also utilised the report as part of Project Endeavour. A Government-backed mobility project, it is designed to accelerate the development and adoption of AV services across the UK, through advanced simulations alongside trials on public roads in three major cities. Models developed during SHIFT will also be used to improve TfL’s own multi-modal demand model: Model of Travel in London (MoTiON).
Dr Graeme Smith, senior vice president of external affairs, Oxbotica, said: “Autonomy, whether we’re talking purely in terms of transportation or any of its various other use cases, is set to transform the world we live in. The knowledge gap has previously been how autonomous vehicles impact the area where they are deployed, but with SHIFT we have been able to begin to understand the nuts and bolts of real-world deployment. The outputs of SHIFT will enable any third party – from OEMs through to owners and operators – to deploy autonomous services in an urban environment in a way that suits their business model. This is the key to unlocking the true potential of autonomy.”
Michael Hurwitz, Transport for London director of innovation, added, “Being part of modelling projects like SHIFT helps ensure we better understand how this technology, and the frameworks and environment that surround it, need to develop and adapt going forwards. This is key to ensuring that any application in the future, be it in London or elsewhere in the UK, is safe, inclusive and works for all.”