Most of the automakers and technology firms have developed from their small beginnings, and are now developing autonomous technology, which is being tested to ensure they are safe for the public consumption. Public testing is the best way to ensure that the artificial intelligence works the same way it was designed to work in the real world.
Waymo in the United States has become a clear path setter in the autonomous industry capping just over 8 million miles of public testing. Uber is also one to mention as it has in the past few years become a household name and in some parts of America, it is known for its self-driving cars, which in last year alone did just over a million miles.
Testing to start in 2019
The British self-driving scene has been relatively quiet, but company FiveAi is looking to change all that by announcing that London will be flocked by a fleet of driverless cars in 2019. They will be joining Britain’s Auto drive trials which have been already tested for a while now.
As reported by a couple of media outlets, FiveAi will put a couple of its driverless cars around the suburbs of Croydon and Bromley in South London, a move which will allow FiveAi to collect as much information as possible to train its vehicles. The Ford Fusions, which are heavily laced with sensors will be on the road for ten months.
Driving around will allow the vehicles to have information about roads and other drivers which ultimately leads to a better driving system. It is worth noting that these vehicles do not seamlessly blend onto the road because of their physical appearance or hardware structure, but because of the rules and regulations put in place by Europe regulatory board. It allows the public also to be aware of the data collection that is ongoing. It also means that the public’s privacy is maintained because whoever is caught on the camera on the vehicles will not be identifiable.
To add onto safety, FiveAi says that they will ensure that behind the wheel of every care there will be a driver. The information that they will obtain will help in ultimately putting driverless taxis in the streets of London by 2019, but autonomous vehicles are supposed to be on the road by the end of the year. This is the first time the company has decided to take operations away from their training base in Bedfordshire.
FiveAi gained popularity when it was able to raise quite a substantial amount of money, $35 million, during a successful Series A round alongside other companies such as LakeStar Capital. While this is by no means an easy task to accomplish, it is one Chinese and American firms eclipse in their fundraisers. A couple of reports suggest that this figure is in the region of hundreds of millions if not billions. For instance, Zoox, one of the latest startup in the United States managed to raise a figure of just over $800 million.
FiveAi’s long-term objective is to replace Google and Uber in Europe, but they know it’s a task that will have to be completed with the backing of more money than that they currently raised.
Just how different is Europe from the U.S when it comes to Autonomous Testing?
Business Insider reports that Stan Boland, the Chief Executive Officer of FiveAi, believes that Europe is much more cultural and densely populated than the United States making it a much harder job to introduce and adopt self-driving cars.
Cities in London and other European capitals are much more challenging to learn autonomous vehicles, while major cities in the United States have a well-defined structure from grid patterns to street markers. This is not the case for Europeans as streets are characterised by windy roads, old street markers and different building structures.
However, business reports suggest that FiveAi is about to embark on a new round of funding that some believe will be the largest yet. One of these people is Bet Peters, FiveAi’s Vice President of product and one of the co-founders. This move will enable the company to stretch its operations wider across Europe.