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Addison Lee, Ford Team to Create Self-Driving Car Alliance for London

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【Summary】London cab company Addison Lee will lead a consortium that includes Ford to research self-driving vehicles and ride-sharing services in the city.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Oct 22, 2017 10:00 AM PT
Addison Lee, Ford Team to Create Self-Driving Car Alliance for London

Autonomous taxis are a huge part of the driverless future. Companies and automakers believe that by taking drivers out of the equation, they can make the process of being ferried from point A to point B a lot more enjoyable and easier for users. While Uber and Waymo, which are two of the largest ride-sharing services in the U.S., are working on autonomous vehicles for America, things are going a little differently for our friends across the Atlantic Ocean. 

A few months ago, the London Taxi Company, which was renamed to the London Electric Vehicle Company, went to work on creating a fleet of electric taxis, as the city of London requires all taxi cabs to be zero emissions vehicles as of 2018. And when it comes to the self-driving aspect of taxis, Britain's rules differ from the United States', as companies and automakers have started to complete short trials – Ocado completed a 10-day trial earlier in July, while Nissan started testing its autonomous Leaf back in March.  

Addison Lee Joins Autonomous Race

Now, Addison Lee, a London-based cab company, according to The Telegraph, will lead a government-backed program to research autonomous vehicles. The cab company will work in partnership with other automakers and companies, including Ford, to look into how driverless vehicles and ride-sharing services will affect London. 

As The Telegraph reports, the Merge Greenwich project estimates that approximately one third of London's automobile journeys could be replaced with an autonomous vehicles by 2025, which would take up roughly 25 percent of the city's public transport market that's worth roughly $4.6 billion. 

Addison Lee's study, as the outlet claims, will stimulate how self-driving vehicles and ride-sharing programs can operate in London. Eventually, the program hopes to develop a 12-month plan that will see driverless vehicles operate in the city. 

Hoping To Make Up Lost Time

"Today we will do 30,000 trips in London and all our data and information can be used to simulate demand and supply availability," Addison Lee chief executive Andy Boland told The Telegraph. Bolands, as the report claims, expects some of Addison Lee's services to be driverless in the city in the near future. "Someone developing autonomous vehicles in California doesn't mean it will be five years ahead of London soon," said Bolands. "Where we come into it – and Innovate UK's push – is really about propositions for a real-world environment." 

Addison Lee isn't the largest taxi service in London, as The Telegraph reports that the company only has 4,800 drivers in London, while Uber has roughly 40,000. Still, the private hire company has increased its efforts to improve its reach and services via technological advancements. 

As The Telegraph claims, Britain has lagged behind the United States when it comes to putting self-driving technology onto the road. But with Ford onboard with Addison Lee's program, the American automaker will bring its self-driving technology, which includes Argo AI. On the flip side, Addison Lee will provide the group with data from its commercial fleet. 

Ford's plans to put self-driving cars on the road by 2021 won't just include ones on American roads, but maybe ones in Britain, as well. 

via: The Telegraph

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