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Oxbotica is testing autonomy in everyone’s favorite foggy city

(TECH NEWS) Autonomous vehicles are not just an American thing.

oxbotica

Cheerio autonomy

In a partnership between the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, up 80,000 miles of roadway was recently approved for the testing of automated vehicles; the first time driverless vehicles have been allowed on actual roadways in the US.

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Recently though, the autonomous party has gone overseas to London with the first driverless shuttle bus in the United Kingdom.

The shuttle

Designed by Oxbotica, the new prototype known as Harry, after clockmaker John Harris, is apart of a project called GATEway and will travel along a two-mile path along the streets of North Greenwich for the remainder of April.

Five camera’s and three lasers are responsible for navigating the shuttle bus and travels up to 10mph.

Lasers allow the vehicle to “see” up to 100m ahead giving it the ability to stop quickly if something is detected in its path. Because of this precision, there is no steering wheel or brake pedal anywhere, but there is a trained person on board in case an emergency stop is necessary.

Acceptance through trial

Of the five thousand community members who applied to test the autonomous shuttle, one hundred have been approved and will have the chance to see a driverless vehicle in person which is rare according to Graeme Smith, Chief Executive of Oxbotica. Smith said, “few people have experienced an autonomous vehicle, so this is about letting people see one in person.”

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They hope to gain acceptance from members of the public for vehicles sharing this kind of space with them.

Although Harry is the UK’s first autonomous shuttle, it isn’t the fist driverless vehicle underway and comes after the “Lutz Pathfinder” pod was introduced back in February. The two-seater driverless vehicle is still awaiting testing though, and does not have a drivable prototype just yet.

Hope for the near future

The Lutz Pathfinder and Harry are made possible from the The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, drafted and summarized after the concerns of the 2016 Queen’s Speech which suggested a “Modern Transport Bill.” This bill focuses around the insurance for self-driving cars and ensure better protection for the motorists involved and the car. The bill also introduces a stronger legal requirement for speed awareness courses.

Taking law, and design into consideration, Oxbotica believes paying passengers can begin riding as easy as 2019.

#HarryShuttle

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Written By

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

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