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After undertaking a year-long investigation with Ford and four other mobility specialists on how to build self-driving systems that integrate with London’s existing transport infrastructure, Addison Lee today is announcing the next step in its autonomous strategy.
The on-demand ride company — which competes with black cabs, Uber and other car services — announced a deal with self-driving startup Oxbotica to develop autonomous vehicles, with the aim of getting them in service in London by 2021.
Details - Deal - Addison - Lee - CEO
No financial details are being revealed about the deal. Addison Lee CEO Andy Boland, in an interview, described it as “purely commercial.” Currently Addison Lee is “unfashionably profitable,” he added, and so it is working on its current self-driving efforts off its own balance sheet. It is also wholly owned by PE firm the Carlyle Group, so it’s likely that this will help with future funding, although Boland did not rule out that when the company gets closer to a commercial launch, that it might need to look for funding to do this.
Meanwhile, Oxbotica — a spin-out from Oxford University — has raised around $18 million to date, with backers including Oxford, Innovate UK, the Ministry of Defence, the IP Group, insurers Axa XL and others.
Deal - Avenue - Cars
The deal potentially sets up an interesting new avenue in how we might see autonomous cars being built, rolled out and operated.
Today, a number of transportation-on-demand companies that have roots in the tech world (Uber, Didi and Yandex Taxi are three examples) are trying to build their own self-driving tech. Alongside them, there are also a plethora of car makers who are also intent on building and running that experience.
Addison - Lee - Oxbotica - Option - System
Now, Addison Lee and Oxbotica are essentially presenting a third option: a system not built by the car service-operator, and not by a car maker, but by a third-party tech company that...
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