Recently, Addison Lee revealed its next move in its self-driving strategy. This announcement came after carrying out an investigation with about five mobility specialists including Ford regarding how to create autonomous driving systems that work together with the existing transport infrastructure in London.
The on-demand ride firm, known for competing with Uber, black cabs and other car services, revealed that it had entered into a deal with autonomous driving startup Oxbotica to create self-driving cars with the intention of making them operational by 2021 in London.
No financial information has been disclosed regarding the deal. However, Addison Lee’s Chief Executive Officer Andy Boland described it in an interview as “ purely commercial.” He said that Addison Lee is currently “unfashionably profitable,” and for this reason, it is currently working on its autonomous-driving initiatives off its balance sheet.
The company is fully owned by PE company the Carlyle Group, which means that this may assist with future financing efforts. Nonetheless, Boland did not disregard the possibility of funding when it gets closer to a commercial launch.
In the meantime, Oxbotica works is an Oxford University spin-out that has fundraised about $18 million so far, with backers such as the Ministry of Defence, Oxford, the IP Group, and Axa XL among others. The deal brings up an innovative new avenue pertaining to how we may view self-driving vehicles being created, released and operated.
Currently, several transportation-on-demand firms with a foundation in the technology world such as Yandex Taxi, Didi and Uber are trying to create their autonomous-driving technology. Alongside these companies, there are numerous car manufacturers geared towards not only creating but also running such an experience.
Presently, Addison Lee alongside Oxbotica is presenting a third option, a system that is not built by a car maker or car service-operator, but instead, one that is built by a third-party technology firm that superimposes the technology on top of whatever car the service provider prefers to have.
Oxbotica prides itself on being the first firm to be allowed to commence any type of autonomous driving vehicle test on a UK road.
This happened when it carried out tests for its equipment, particularly on a customized Renault.
That early step marks one of the reasons that compelled Addison Lee to choose Oxbotica.
“The way they have built their technology and how they are already provisioning it has been impressive. They have the most tangible capability that we could go with, and we felt that the way they were thinking about it, the business model isn’t just for rideshare or car share, it’s across a range of other industrial applications, and we like that, too. It’s now getting serious, and real-life-scale operators like Addison Lee are looking to bring this to market, said Boland.
“This represents a huge leap towards bringing autonomous vehicles into mainstream use on the streets of London and eventually in cities across the United Kingdom and beyond. Our partnership with Addison Lee Group represents another milestone for the commercial deployment of our integrated autonomous vehicle and fleet management software systems in complex urban transport conditions.
Together, we are taking a major step in delivering the future of mobility,” explained Graeme Smith, the CEO of Oxbotica.