Addison Lee is looking into self-driving taxis too

The company is part of a consortium that will research autonomous ride-sharing in London.

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Toby Melville / Reuters
Toby Melville / Reuters

Driverless car trials are happening all around the UK, but the epicentre is arguably Greenwich, in London. We've seen driverless pods ferry passengers around the O2 and autonomous delivery vans drop off Ocado hampers near Woolwich. That's because a chunk of the borough has been ring-fenced as a "Smart Mobility Living Lab" for autonomous projects and research. The latest initiative to fall under that banner is "Merge," which will look at how a driverless ride-sharing service could work in the city. The work will be led by Addison Lee, alongside a consortium that includes Ford, the Transport Research Laboratory and Transport Systems Catapult.

The group will spend 12 months developing a "blueprint" for how a self-driving, publicly accessible transport system could be run in the city. It will cover a range of social, commercial and infrastructure issues, including how the public might react to driverless technology, how it could be designed to compliment existing transport options, and the impact it would have on local communities and journey times. The "plan" will also include an "advanced simulation" and a general business model outlining the costs and recommended vehicle specifications. It's not clear, however, how much testing will be done with self-driving cars in the real world.

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