O2 has partnered with Oxbotica, an Oxford-based artificial intelligence specialist in a bid to help further the development of autonomous vehicles here in the UK.
Working together under the DRIVEN consortium which has recently been given an £8.6 million government grant, O2 and Oxbotica are looking to see a trial deployment of a full fleet of autonomous vehicles within urban areas and motorways.
The trial will involve the driverless fleet navigating a journey from London to Oxford, completely independent of human interaction, however the project will use O2's network to transmit data.
All vehicles involved will be operating at 'Level 4 autonomy' which dictates that they can complete an entire trip with no passengers. This trial will be the first of it's kind, no other trial of connected or autonomous vehicles has ever demonstrated this level of independence.
The project which began this month is due to last for 30 months and is set to address key challenges such as data sharing between connected vehicles and cyber security risks.
An O2 spokesperson commented on the new project saying, "O2 is proud to be part of the DRIVEN consortium which is planning to deploy a fleet of connected, fully autonomous vehicles at a level of complexity and integration never before attempted anywhere in the world. O2’s role is to ensure safe transmission and delivery of the critical data generated by the autonomous vehicles.
"O2 believes developments in areas including secure data transfer will be the key to future developments in mobility, including congestion relief, car sharing and other innovative schemes. O2 also has a strong track record in machine to machine communication and particularly in driverless cars, including being a core partner of the Greenwich Automated Transport Environment (GATEway) project which has seen driverless vehicles travelling autonomously near The O2 in London."