European Roads See First Zero-Occupancy Autonomous Journey


We write a lot about self-driving vehicles here at Hackaday, but it’s fair to say that most of the limelight has fallen upon large and well-known technology companies on the west coast of the USA. It’s worth drawing attention to other parts of the world where just as much research has gone into autonomous transport, and on that note there’s an interesting milestone from Europe. The British company Oxbotica has successfully made the first zero-occupancy on-road journey in Europe, on a public road in Oxford, UK.

The glossy promo video below the break shows the feat as the vehicle with number plates signifying its on-road legality drives round the relatively quiet roads through one of the city’s technology parks, and promises a bright future of local deliveries and urban transport. The vehicle itself is interesting, it’s a platform supplied by the Aussie outfit AppliedEV, an electric spaceframe vehicle that’s designed to provide a versatile platform for autonomous transport. As such, unlike so many of the aforementioned high-profile vehicles, it has no passenger cabin and no on-board driver to take the wheel in a calamity; instead it’s driven by Oxbotica’s technology and has their sensor pylon attached to its centre.

It’s fair to say that despite this milestone it’s still early days, but the company say they’ve inked a deal with the British online supermarket Ocado and hope to start deliveries of customer orders sometime in 2023. It’s worth noting that the action takes place somewhere steeped in automotive history, as Oxford Technology Park North is the former site of the Morris Cowley works, over the road from the plant that currently produces Minis.

Exciting times for self-driving abound for Brits at the moment, as they’re also experiencing their first autonomous bus route.

Thanks [Malie Lalor] for posting the tip.



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