Aviva and Darwin team up for Oxford autonomous shuttle trial

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Aviva and Darwin Innovation Group have entered into a five-year strategic partnership, which will begin with an autonomous shuttle trial in Oxfordshire.

Darwin is currently trialling an autonomous shuttle at the UK’s first commercial 5G laboratory – the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

Created by French EV manufacturer Navya, the 5G-controlled shuttle can pick passengers up, transport them around the campus and drop them off at their destination, autonomously. A second shuttle is expected to be added in the second year of operation.

According to the collaboration, these electric shuttles will operate 24/7, allowing for the capture of data in different light and weather condition. This data will then be transmitted via 5G and satellite channels.

The vehicles will have level 4 autonomy, according to SAE International’s levels of driving automation, and they do not require a steering wheel.

Darwin said it has mapped out the campus and provided the shuttles with all the information they will need to navigate the area. The shuttles will be able to communicate with each other, and will be equipped with sensors enabling them to navigate without obstructing each other, as well as reacting to any unexpected obstacles.

Furthermore, Aviva added it will use data from the trial to assist it to build the future model for motor insurance.

Nick Amin, chief operating officer at Aviva, said: “With this trial, we’re able to be there right from the start of the real-life application of autonomous vehicles operating on public roads, which will change not only our relationship with these vehicles but, more fundamentally, how we insure them.

“Autonomous vehicles could change the face of motor insurance within a decade. Through having access to the data from this trial, we can understand today the kinds of things we’ll have to consider in the future to keep passengers, pedestrians and all other road users safe when driverless technology hits public roads.”

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