Driverless delivery vans on the road in two years, says UK tech company

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  • #164251 Reply
    Brydo
    Participant

    Driverless delivery vans could be operating on UK streets by 2023, if Oxford-based tech company StreetDrone gets its way.

    High Street retailer Wilco has just taken a £3m stake in the firm through its investment arm WilkinsonFuture, and is hoping to be able to trial driverless on-street deliveries in a project sanctioned by Oxford City Council within a couple of years. Current legislation prohibits driverless vehicles from public roads, but talks are ongoing with relevant legislative bodies to enable a trial to go forward.

    The nifty-looking, last-mile delivery electric vehicle in these computer generated images is based on the Renault Twizy. But unlike the Twizy there’s no room for a driver and a passenger. Instead, StreetDrone says remote operators will be able to monitor and take over control of the vehicle using video and wireless technology, should they run into trouble. Not that they’ll run into it very fast, as speeds are set to be limited to 20mph or less. Charging is likely to be from inductive pads set into the road or pavement at key points.

    StreetDrone’s founding partners are entrepreneur Mike Potts and former McLaren and Super Aguri F1 engineer Mark Preston, who first got into the delivery business together doing paper rounds aged 13. The childhood partners reunited to set up StreetDrone and, in case anyone is wondering, ardent motorsport enthusiast Preston is not interested in creating autonomous mobile chicanes for drivers on busy roads.

    “We’re definitely not focused on these things driving on the motorway or busy town centres, because the technology isn’t nearly advanced enough” he says. “Instead we’re looking at suburban environments and new build housing estates where this sort of ‘last mile’ delivery can bring real value.”

    Even if the trial goes ahead, StreetDrone reckons we could still be ten years away from seeing even low-speed vehicles like this operating routinely in low-traffic density areas. As for driverless passenger cars operating in ‘normal traffic’, the pair are pretty sceptical.

    “We’ll leave that to others,” says Potts. “By our estimation Waymo have spent between $3-5bn on trying to make driverless passenger cars work, and haven’t been able to do it yet.” In fact, argue Potts and Preston, it’s hard to see driverless passenger cars making any real headway for “several decades”, even while local delivery systems take off.

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

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  • #164253 Reply
    Wigwam
    Participant

    These ideas have to be tried, and good luck to the company concerned but I’m reminded of the adage “a triumph of technology over common sense”.

    #164256 Reply
    Brydo
    Participant

    Baby steps wigwam, baby steps.

    We have witnessed the “teething problems” Tesla have experienced with their autonomous software but they will persevere until they are happy with the finished product.

    This technology will change the way many things are provided and will, unfortunately, see the demise of jobs such as Taxi drivers, bus drivers, delivery drivers etc.

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

    #164257 Reply
    Wigwam
    Participant

    Just so, Brydo.  How clever of society to allow the replacement of people by machines without considering how those people are going to earn a living.  But at least the tech companies and their investors will be rich.

    #164260 Reply
    Brydo
    Participant

    It’s a major concern wigwam, we are 100,000 HGV drivers short just now so adding all the above together  we could be talking millions of people without a job.

    Looking at companies like “just eat” and others in the “Gig” economy we will lose a shed load of jobs and that’s before we include AI and robotics.

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

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