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Autonomous car trials to take place in Birmingham

Date: 11 June 2021   |   Author: Sean Keywood

A fleet of four Ford Mondeos is taking to the streets of Birmingham as part of an autonomous driving trial.

The cars, fitted with lidar, radar, and stereo cameras, and equipped with autonomy software from Oxbotica, will operate in a five-mile area around Lea Hall station as part of the UK Government-backed Project Endeavour.

The trials will run throughout the day for several weeks, with a professionally-trained safety driver aboard ready to take control if necessary.

The trial routes include roundabouts, traffic lights, and junctions in both industrial and residential areas, and the plan is to test the cars in a range of traffic scenarios and weather conditions.

Oxbotica senior vice president and Project Endeavour director Graeme Smith said: "Project Endeavour is a one-of-a-kind research project that is allowing us to learn about the challenges of deploying autonomous vehicles in multiple cities across the UK - a key part of being able to deploy services safely and at scale. 

"This stage of the mobility project is a new step for us, as Birmingham hosts our fleet of autonomous vehicles for the first time in real-life environments, and there has been a huge amount of enthusiasm from the local authority in the UK's second largest city ahead of the deployment. 

"So far, Project Endeavour has been a real collaborative effort, bringing everyone into the discussion: from local authorities, to road safety groups, transport providers, and, most importantly, the general public."