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Friday, August 12, 2022

Autonomous shuttle commences trial at Harwell

A 5G-powered autonomous shuttle and satellite connectivity will drive the public across the Harvel Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire

Aviva and Darwin Innovation Group entered into a five-year partnership starting from a collaboration in an autonomous vehicle trial that began on Monday, November 28th.

Darwin is trying out the autonomous shuttle at the Harvel Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. This vehicle, created by Navya, controlled by 5G and satellite connectivity, will be able to pick up passengers, drive them around campus and drop them off at their destination, all without the involvement of a human driver. A second ferry is expected to be added in the second year of operation.

The electric ferries will operate 24/7, which will allow data capture in different light and weather conditions, and will transmit this data via 5G and satellite channels. The vehicles will have Level 4 autonomy, under SAE International’s automation levels, and have no steering wheel.

Darwin carefully mapped the campus and provided the ferries with all the information they would need to navigate the area. The ferries will be able to communicate with each other, and will be well equipped with sensors so that they can navigate without interfering with each other and can respond to any unexpected obstacle.

Proponents believe autonomous vehicles can dramatically improve road safety and change the UK’s mobility system. However, as vehicle technology evolves and the reality of fully autonomous vehicles on the roads approaches, insurance companies need to be able to assess potential risks and vehicle uses when underwriting such vehicles. Aviva believes that being involved in the testing and development stages of this experiment means it will be in a good position to respond to the growing automation of vehicles. The purpose of the experiment is to introduce the application of connected autonomous vehicles and allow the company to build its first comprehensive insurance model for this type of vehicle, which will evolve as the experiment progresses.

The trial is based on the October 2020 launch of O2 and Darwin Innovation Group of Darwin SatCom Laboratory, the UK’s first commercial laboratory for 5G and satellite communications, located on the Harvel Science and Innovation Campus. The lab allows companies like Aviva to explore next-generation connectivity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles using both 5G and satellite communications.

Nick Amin, Aviva’s VP of Operations, said: “With this experience, we can be there from the very beginning of the real application of autonomous vehicles operating on public roads, which will change not only our relationship with these. Vehicles, but more principally, how we insure them. Autonomous vehicles may change the face of car insurance within a decade. By accessing data from this experiment, we can understand today the types of things we will need to consider in the future to keep passengers, pedestrians and all other road users safe when driverless technology reaches public roads. “

Daniela Petrovich, Supply Manager at Darwin, said: “For any emerging market to succeed, we need to create an ecosystem of companies that share a vision for innovation and are willing to expand their core competencies to something new. Emerging markets are usually at the intersection of industries, “That’s why in order for CAV’s ecosystem to work, we need to gather players from several industries to work together. The Darwin team is happy to have Aviva as a partner in this ecosystem, while creating new insurance models and allowing CAV cars to become mainstream in the UK market.”

The electric ferries, which have no rudder, will operate 24/7 to capture data in different light and weather conditions. Darwin / Navia

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