The Project Endeavour driverless car pilot has concluded its multi-city demonstration of autonomous vehicle services with a final on-road trial in Greenwich, in which members of the public were able to ride in one of six Ford Mondeo vehicles integrated with Oxbotica’s autonomy software platform.
After COVID-19 restrictions prevented public involvement in the earlier Oxford and Birmingham trials, TRL says people in London seized the chance to experience a ride in an AV. The fleet of test vehicles were operating at normal traffic speed around Greenwich, and the public were invited to make use of them as if making a journey along a route with stops. At key locations, the roadside monitoring infrastructure of the London CAM testbed collected data on the interactions of the passengers, traffic, and other road users, with the Endeavour cars.
Lucien Linders, General Manager at the Smart Mobility Living Lab said, “We were delighted to see SMLL involved in this final stage of trials, highlighting exactly what the testbed was designed and built for.”
In a UK first, during the AV service trials, SMLL conducted a road user behaviour study as part of a deeper programme of human behaviour and attitudes/perceptions research being led by DG Cities, which involved asking the public passengers about their journey before and after, focus groups, workshops, and interviews. DG Cities are also running a nationally representative survey of public opinion about AVs. The research included using the SMLL testbed monitoring systems to record the actions and interactions of people as they waited at the Endeavour trial stops, embarked and disembarked, and how other traffic users behaved around the AVs. The results will be reported in September by DG Cities and the combined study will set a precedent for the design of future AV trials.
Linders added: “Ahead of the Endeavour trials, the UK public said that in-vehicle safety and the safety record of the service provider were the top two most important considerations when choosing future mobility providers. Our behaviour study is the latest opportunity to track changing public attitudes and reactions to AVs, and will inform how best to introduce AVs into commercial use on our transport networks.”
Launched in March 2019, Project Endeavour is the UK’s first multi-city demonstration of an AV fleet capability, designed to accelerate the deployment of AV ride sharing services across the UK by creating a flexible, scalable business model that will make the deployment process quicker, easier, and more efficient – while maintaining the highest safety standards. The project partners include Oxbotica, TRL, DG Cities, Immense, BSI and Oxfordshire County Council. Endeavour is part-funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.
(Picture – TRL)