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Leadership / Digital Transformation

Would you hail a driverless taxi? They could soon be hitting London’s streets

Cambridge based start-up FiveAI has raised £14m worth of funds to roll out driverless taxi trials across London by 2019.

Following two rounds of investment the company now has £26.8m worth of investment and FiveAI hopes to develop a system for driverless cars to travel around London’s busy streets.

Would you hail a driverless taxi? They could soon be hitting London’s streets
FiveAI’s driverless taxis will be available to order via a smartphone app

After the creation of driverless car programme routes has been created, a total of 10 electric driverless cars are expected to drive around the outer boroughs of the Capital and FiveAI expects the trials to begin across London by 2019.

The project aims to demonstrate that driverless technology is safe, efficient and better to the environment and can be safely used alongside existing road infrastructures.

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Stan Boland, FiveAI CEO, spoke to Cambridge news and said: “London has one of the best public transport systems in the world.

“In the short term, from day one of the service launch the StreetWise project will increase public transport usage, reduce congestion and emissions and make out urban areas more liveable for all.”

The system will work by allowing customers to order the driverless taxis through a smartphone app, as you would with popular ride-hailing firm Uber.

By targeting the UK streets, the start-up company is hoping to gain a competitive edge over the likes of Silicon Valley companies, Google and Uber, who are currently carrying out tests in the US.

Read More: UK government awards £38m to self driving cars and autonomous vehicles

Following FiveAI’s initial £12.8m government funding from the Department for Transport, the firms latest round of funding of £14m came from the joint efforts of Lakestar Capital and existing investors Hermann Hauser’s Amadeus capital Partners, Notion Capital and Kindred.

The start-up has already successfully tested prototypes of driverless cars on private land around Cambridge.

Founded last year, the Cambridge based company hopes to expand the driverless system across Europe in years to come if the UK trials are a success.
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