Robots take the wheel at new driverless test centre

A nuclear and robotics centre in the UK is to become a test site for driverless cars. The UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) facility at […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A nuclear and robotics centre in the UK is to become a test site for driverless cars.

The UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) facility at the Culham Science Centre will be host to a number of major projects to get autonomous electric vehicles (EVs) on the road.

The most notable of these is the DRIVEN consortium, led by driverless car developer Oxbotica, which has received more than £8 million in funding from the UK Government to develop and operate a fully autonomous fleet of vehicles within the next two and half years.

These cars will eventually drive themselves from London to Oxford as a public demonstration of the viability of this technology.

Oxbotica’s main field test activities will take place on the 10 kilometres of roads, junctions and roundabouts within the closed Culham site.

The developers expect the facility to provide a perfect test-track for the vehicles to test their ability to monitor and react to other road users and pedestrians in realistic conditions.

RACE Director Rob Buckingham said: “RACE has been working with Oxbotica for some time now. The DRIVEN team brings together the right combination of interests and enthusiasm to change the conversation in this exciting field from mostly speculation to real world detail.

“DRIVEN will show how autonomous vehicles will change the world, both for the public and industrial users.”

London has been ranked in second place in the race towards decarbonising the transport industry.