FiveAI is introducing data gathering cars in the Boroughs of Bromley and Croydon ahead of a planned trial of shared autonomous vehicles in London in 2019 aimed at demonstrating the technology is safe in urban areas.
The five cars, which feature an array of front-facing sensors on the roof, will be operated for 10 months to help the company gain a comprehensive understanding of the road environment and the behaviour of road users such as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
They will be driven by trained safety drivers, and will operate in the same way as any normal vehicle. The data will be used to develop FiveAI’s driverless vehicle technology.
Ben Peters, co-founder and VP product of FiveAI, said: “For our service to eventually operate in London, we have to learn about the road layout, topology and traffic flow.
“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.”
FiveAI’s service will be designed for individuals currently driving some or all of their daily commute. The company is targeting 2019 to launch a supervised trial of a pilot fleet of shared autonomous vehicles on London roads.