Driverless Car Trial For Milton Keynes By Month End – Report

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Summon a car via an app. Major trial of driverless cars to start in Milton Keynes, but will not include fully autonomous cars

Milton Keynes continues to be the UK location of choice to conduct trials of advanced driving technology, with a major driverless car trail set to begin later this month.

According to the local newspaper, MK Citizen, the trial will allow people to summon a driverless car ride via an app. To start with there will initially be a safety driver in every vehicle, but the idea is that each car will eventually be controlled remotely by an operator in a control centre.

According to Imperium Drive, the company behind the trials, the trial will not feature autonomous self-driving cars, such as Waymo in Arizona and San Francisco, but rather a driverless car that can be summonsed on demand.

Milton Keynes

According to MK Citizen, if the trials are successful, the service will run at Milton Keynes train station and be offered as a paid alternative to commuters.

This service would of course greatly help rail commuters who struggle to find suitable car parking at the Milton Keynes train station, which is a major rail hub in the region.

The Fetch car system is backed by the government and Milton Keynes Council and the goal is reportedly to make remote driving safer than actual driving.

Driverless cars are a fairly common sight in Milton Keynes, as the town has played host to other trials over the past decade, including driverless pods, as well as delivery robots that drive slowly on the pavement in order to deliver shopping to people’s homes, or a Costa Coffee to a person.

Indeed, it should be remembered the coalition government in 2014 opened a £150 million government-sponsored centre in Milton Keynes to develop driverless cars and improve the country’s transport networks across air, land and sea.

Driverless car trial

The driverless cars in question this time around have already been reportedly tested on private land and car parks around MK Stadium, located near Bletchley.

Indeed, one of the first official journeys was to take MK Dons footballers into work. MK Dons players and staff will also be taking part in the trials, as the driverless cars will hopefully lessen the spread of Covid-19.

This is because the football club cannot at the moment put players together in a single car, due to the highly contagious omicron variant.

The head of Transport Innovation at Milton Keynes Council, Brian Matthews, reportedly said driverless cars will be commonplace in Milton Keynes within two years.

“We’re looking a range of solutions not just these driverless cars, but also larger shuttles using similar technology and four-seater pods that are completely autonomous,” said Matthews.

“We’ve been working at this for a number of years,” he said. “We want people to move away from single occupancy cars.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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