Ford and Addison Lee launch a self-driving car coalition for London

  • Merge Greenwich project will be led by Addison Lee with support from Ford
  • Government-backed coalition will explore potential for driverless cars in London
  • A plan for a driverless transport pilot in Greenwich is expected after 12 months 
  • Addison Lee will provide data while Ford will help with self-driving technology  

Harry Pettit For Mailonline

Ford and London taxi firm Addison Lee have teamed up as part of a UK government-backed research effort into self-driving cars.

Led by Addison Lee, the Merge Greenwich project will explore the potential for driverless and ride-sharing services in London.

The coalition, which is backed by government organisation Innovate UK, will study how self-driving cars and ride-sharing might operate in the capital.

Innovate UK estimates up to a third of London car journeys could be replaced by self-driving vehicles by 2025.

A plan for a driverless transport pilot in London’s Greenwich borough is expected after 12 months.

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Ford and UK taxi firm Addison Lee have teamed up as part of a government-backed research effort into self-driving cars. Led by Addison Lee, the Merge Greenwich project will explore the potential for driverless and ride-sharing services in London (stock image)

Ford and UK taxi firm Addison Lee have teamed up as part of a government-backed research effort into self-driving cars. Led by Addison Lee, the Merge Greenwich project will explore the potential for driverless and ride-sharing services in London (stock image)

Ford and UK taxi firm Addison Lee have teamed up as part of a government-backed research effort into self-driving cars. Led by Addison Lee, the Merge Greenwich project will explore the potential for driverless and ride-sharing services in London (stock image)

UK DRIVERLESS CARS 

US tech giants dominate the driverless car industry, with firms like Uber, Ford and Google’s Waymo leading the way.

UK companies have typically lagged behind, but Addison Lee’s project could finally see a British firm staking a significant claim in the driverless market.

Ford, which has its own autonomous vehicle programme, will provide its knowledge of driverless cars to the project.

Addison Lee will contribute data from its commercial fleet, which has almost 5,000 vehicles in London alone. 

Ford, which has its own autonomous vehicle programme, will provide its knowledge of driverless cars to the project.

Addison Lee will contribute data from its commercial fleet, which boasts almost 5,000 vehicles in London. 

Addison Lee chief executive Andy Boland told the Telegraph: ‘Today we will do 30,000 trips in London and all our data and information can be used to simulate demand and supply availability.’

Mr Boland said some of Addison Lee’s London services will likely become autonomous within the time frame. 

The Merge Greenwich project predicts that up to a third of the capital’s car journeys could be replaced by self-driving vehicles by 2025.

According to its estimates, driverless machines could eventually take up 25 per cent of London’s transport market, worth £3.5 billion ($4.6 billion).

US tech giants dominate the driverless car industry, with firms like Uber, Ford and Google’s Waymo leading the way.

UK companies have typically lagged behind, but Addison Lee’s project could finally see a British firm staking a significant claim in the driverless market.

Ford, which has its own autonomous vehicle programme (pictured), will provide its knowledge of driverless cars to the project. Addison Lee will contribute data from its commercial fleet, which boasts almost 5,000 vehicles in London

Ford, which has its own autonomous vehicle programme (pictured), will provide its knowledge of driverless cars to the project. Addison Lee will contribute data from its commercial fleet, which boasts almost 5,000 vehicles in London

Ford, which has its own autonomous vehicle programme (pictured), will provide its knowledge of driverless cars to the project. Addison Lee will contribute data from its commercial fleet, which boasts almost 5,000 vehicles in London

Mr Boland said he believed car manufacturers would ‘ultimately own and manage the global supply chain’ of autonomous vehicles, rather than tech companies.

In the wake of Uber’s licensing battle with Transport For London, Addison Lee announced last month it would increase the size of its fleet.

The firm plans to increase driver numbers in London by up to a quarter, it said on September 29, just as rival Uber was set to lose its licence in Britain’s capital.

London’s transport regulator stripped Uber of its operating licence on September 30, citing problems with the company’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks. 

TOWN WHERE ROBOTS DRIVE

At first glance it seems like any other city, with five lane roads, intersections, buildings and even pedestrians waving as you pass.

However, M City, in Ann Arbor, is devoid of one thing – people.

The University of Michigan opened the $6.5m, 32 acres Mcity, the world's first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars

The University of Michigan opened the $6.5m, 32 acres Mcity, the world's first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars

The University of Michigan opened the $6.5m, 32 acres Mcity, the world’s first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars

Ford was the first major car maker test autonomous vehicles at Mcity – the full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan.

The $6.5 million facility will be outfitted with 40 building facades, angled intersections, a traffic circle, a bridge, a tunnel, gravel roads, and plenty of obstructed views.

Occupying 32 acres at the University's North Campus Research Complex, M City includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights and obstacles

Occupying 32 acres at the University's North Campus Research Complex, M City includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights and obstacles

Occupying 32 acres at the University’s North Campus Research Complex, M City includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights and obstacles

Occupying 32 acres at the University’s North Campus Research Complex, it includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers