First stage of process for 2021 service launch
Addison Lee Group, the global ground transportation business, and Oxbotica, the British leader in self-driving vehicle software, have launched a unique, 3D street mapping exercise in London’s iconic Canary Wharf – a significant milestone in the roll out of Addison Lee’s autonomous services by 2021. The mapping process will create the backdrop for new, autonomous services which meet urban requirements for efficient transport, reduced congestion and improved air quality.
The companies, together with Canary Wharf Group and insurer AXA XL, have already started the process, using a vehicle equipped with mapping technology to record every kerb, road sign, landmark and traffic light in Canary Wharf’s 128-acre estate. This is the first stage of a mapping exercise across London, where more than 250,000 miles of public roads will be mapped in order to better understand the requirements for rolling out a fully autonomous service.
Mark Nallen, Head of Technology and Innovation at Canary Wharf Group, said: “With an expanding estate, and visitor and commuter numbers growing, we need to plan our future transport needs, and the mapping exercise with our partners at Addison Lee Group, Oxbotica and AXA XL is the first stage on this journey.”
Partnership vehicles have already started the mapping exercise, with radars that help Oxbotica understand the environment, cameras to take in images of the streets and lidar sensors that send out laser pulses to sense the surroundings. This enables Oxbotica to build a rich 3D map of the area, which is then analysed to identify important features such as traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and road markings.
Oxbotica will use this data to help understand the contents of street signs, and the meanings of the lane markings on the road to enable the vehicle to be as knowledgeable as a local resident about the complexities of each street. The company will repeat this process many times, and at different times, improving the understanding of how the streets change in different lighting conditions, weather and seasons of the year.
When the autonomous vehicle travels down these same streets, it builds the same picture and matches it to the map, using the knowledge about traffic light location and lane markings to help localise itself and be aware of what’s around the next corner.
Oxbotica’s insurance partner, AXA XL – a division of AXA – is insuring the exercise. AXA XL has significant experience in the field of autonomous technologies, having signed a landmark agreement with Oxbotica in 2016 to examine the technologies’ potential impact on risk management. In May 2018, it announced a suite of insurance solutions to support the commercial adoption of mobile robotic solutions.
Canary Wharf Group’s Nallen said: “Canary Wharf now has over 120,000 daily commuters and around 30,000 visitors coming to the Estate every day. Canary Wharf Group has consistently pioneered new technologies to ensure tenants have access to the best possible infrastructure. Transport is clearly vital to any growing population and as public transport routes become more heavily used, it is crucial we provide additional capacity to meet the increasing scale of their transport needs. We believe the types of services envisaged by Addison Lee Group and Oxbotica could be part of the solution and we are delighted to be at the forefront of autonomous vehicle innovation.”
Andy Boland, Addison Lee Group’s CEO, said: “With its’ campus-style arrangement and high number of commuters, Canary Wharf is the perfect place to begin our mapping of London with Oxbotica and a possible location for new Addison Lee Group services.”
Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica added: “This mapping is another step towards making autonomous vehicles a reality in complex urban environments such as Canary Wharf. This partnership shows the trust we have gained to deploy our integrated autonomous vehicle and fleet management software in even the most challenging of environments. We look forward to bringing autonomous vehicles into mainstream use on the streets of London in the very near future.”
Speaking on the importance of the partnership, Vincent Branch, Chief Executive of Accelerate*, AXA XL’s innovation team, said: “Autonomous technologies will – in the near future – directly impact our working environments, the design of our cities and transport infrastructures. This ground-breaking mapping project positions Addison Lee Group and Canary Wharf at the forefront of this exciting development and we are delighted, along with Oxbotica, to be enabling it.”
Canary Wharf has emerged as one of the fastest growing tech clusters in London. Level39, the tech community with over 200-member companies, has become the home to start-ups looking to scale at pace. Previous tenants included both Digital Shadows and Revolut, the UK’s latest tech unicorn. Canary Wharf Group has just completed the first live trial of 5G technology in the UK and announced plans for a new development called Wood Wharf, which adjoins Canary Wharf and will house 20,000 tech and creative jobs.
For further information, please contact:
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166
Notes to Editors
About Addison Lee Group:
Addison Lee Group is the world’s largest managed premium car service business and counts more than 80 percent of the FTSE 100 as customers. It was the first UK ground transport business to launch a booking app, and the company operates 5,000 of its own vehicles and provides up to 30,000 rides a day in London alone. Owned by The Carlyle Group, Addison Lee Group provides exceptional customer service through innovative technology combined with experienced driver and customer service teams supporting car, chauffeur and courier needs. Addison Lee Group has 24/7 customer support from its Contact Centre via phone, email and social media. As well as journeys in London, Addison Lee Group customers can book its’ managed service in New York and across the US and use its’ digital channels to book travel in over 100 cities.
Oxbotica is about driving autonomous vehicles – it develops the software that makes them possible. Its efficient, sensor and platform-agnostic technology can be integrated across multiple domains, from cities to airports and warehouses to mines. Its on-vehicle software, Selenium, enables vehicles to operate autonomously independently of any infrastructure, including GPS. Caesium, Oxbotica’s cloud-based fleet management system, provides an API to co-ordinate whole fleets of autonomous vehicles. Oxbotica’s commercial mission is to build and license a white label, end-to-end autonomous vehicle operating system with cloud management products that can be deployed in highly complex urban and industrial environments.
About Canary Wharf Group:
Canary Wharf Group plc has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 16.5m sq ft of London real estate, which now houses local and international companies and renowned retailers. The Canary Wharf estate is a major retail destination comprising around 1m sq ft across five shopping malls, including the award-winning leisure development, Crossrail Place, housing one of London’s most stunning roof gardens. It also has world-class, year-round arts and events programme offering over 200 diverse and culturally inspiring events performed throughout the Estate.
Canary Wharf’s new district, Wood Wharf, will provide up to 3,600 new homes, 2.8m sq ft of office space, 380,000 sq ft of retail space and over eight acres of public spaces, squares and parks. There will also be a GP surgery and a two-form primary school for 420 children. Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.
About AXA XL
AXA XL1, the property, casualty and specialty risk division of AXA, provides insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized companies through to large multinationals, and reinsurance solutions to insurance companies globally. We partner with those who move the world forward. To learn more, visit www.axaxl.com
- The Centre for Economics and Business Research published figures in its 30 Years of Canary Wharf report showing, that with 120,000 jobs, Canary Wharf has become the largest single centre of employment in the UK, with one and a half times the number of workers at Heathrow airport – https://cebr.com/reports/local-impact-report-30-years-of-canary-wharf/