Just in time for Eurovision, one of the UK’s leading self-driving companies, Oxbotica, has a signed a long-term strategic partnership with Swedish disruptive mobility organisation, NEVS.
The agreement will see Oxbotica integrating its Driver autonomy system into NEVS’ eye-catching Sango electric vehicle (EV). The result: a fleet of self-driving, all-electric vehicles providing on-demand mobility services on geo-fenced public roads by the end of 2023.
“Gimme, gimme, gimme a robotaxi after midnight” as Swedish super troup and multi-Eurovison winners, ABBA, nearly said.
If successful, “multiple projects in Europe” will follow in 2024 and, from 2025 onwards, the solution will be “scaled across the globe”.
Its new partner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), was established in 2012, with roots from the 1940s, and is based in Trollhättan in Sweden’s famous automotive cluster.
Commenting on the NEVS partnership, Gavin Jackson, new CEO at Oxbotica, said: “The combination of Oxbotica Driver and this stunning, next-generation, electric vehicle is a perfect match.
“It allows us to create an urban mobility service that will make roads safer, cleaner, and less congested, and provide customers with a new way to travel. The partnership will truly change how the earth moves and I can’t wait to see the first vehicles out on the road next year.”
Stefan Tilk, President at NEVS, said: “Having a partnership with Oxbotica and being able to progress substantially with its autonomous stack as the “driver”, will indeed make the ecosystem of our mobility solution complete.
“Through this partnership we will be able to deploy pilots and commercial fleets – ensuring a breakthrough in the movement of people in a green, safe and smart way, paving the way for sustainable cities.”
As detailed in Queen’s Speech 2022 lobby pack, the self-driving sector is predicted to be worth £41.7bn to the UK economy by 2035. The winner takes it all, apparently.
Somewhat surprisingly, as it had been trailed, there was no mention of self-driving in the 2022 Queen’s Speech
The 2022 Queen’s Speech – delivered by Prince Charles following Monday’s announcement that the monarch would not attend – set out the UK government’s legislative programme but, somewhat disappointingly, there was no mention of self-driving.
… and the Queen’s Speech 2022: Transport In Focus article, published on the House of Lords Library webpage on 5 May, which said: “The speech is expected to include several measures concerning transport… establishing a new rail body; regulating the sale of e-scooters; and providing for driverless cars.”
Indeed, the only transport sector to get a special mention was rail: “Legislation will be introduced to modernise rail services and improve reliability for passengers.”
It was left to others to fill in the gaps.
AA president, Edmund King, said: “The world of transport is changing rapidly with new innovations and technologies for consumers to choose from. Regardless of how people travel, we must keep the consumer at the heart of it.
“For car owners, the drive towards electrification needs more support and we are pleased to see more emphasis on boosting the public charging network. As well as installing more chargepoints, we need to ensure they are reliable, easy to use, safe and accessible to all.
“Similarly, drivers will need to be part of the conversation when it comes to introducing more autonomous technology in cars. Drivers are not quite ready to take their hands off the wheel and are nervous about handing over responsibility to the car but are supportive of technology such as autonomous emergency braking which enhances safety.
“With e-scooters and other forms of micro-mobility popping up more frequently on UK roads, it makes sense that safety regulation should come first. If introduced alongside appropriate infrastructure, e-mobility could help provide a positive shift in greener localised travel both for individuals and last-mile freight.”
Other parts of the speech which may be relevant to self-driving included “An Energy Bill to deliver the transition to cheaper, cleaner, and more secure energy” and the announcement that “The United Kingdom’s data protection regime will be reformed”.
Ah well, remember the glory days when, at the state opening of parliament, the Queen said: “My ministers will ensure the UK is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles.” That was back in 2016.
[Edit at 11.30am on Wed 11 May ]
Our thanks to Felix Boon, Solicitor and Senior Claim Adjuster at Zurich Insurance, for pointing out that, deep in the Queen’s Speech 2022 lobby pack (on page 31 of 140), there are couple of brief references to self-driving:
“Legislation for self-driving vehicles will enable an emerging UK sector in this new technology, predicted by the Connected Places Catapult in 2020 to be worth £41.7 billion to the UK economy by 2035 and expected to create 38,000 new skilled jobs.”
“Introducing new laws that safely enable self-driving and remotely operated vehicles and vessels, support the roll-out of electric vehicle charge points and enabling the licensing of London pedicabs.”
Apparently not worthy of inclusion in the actual Speech!
VW and Volvo CEOs talk connected and automated mobility (CAM) at the FT’s Future of the Car Summit 2022.
Connected and automated mobility (CAM) featured prominently on the first morning of the four-day Future of the Car Summit 2022, hosted by Financial Times Live.
The online-only first day (Monday 9 May), ahead of in-person and digital events tomorrow and Wednesday, included big name vehicle manufacturer speakers – Volkswagen Group CEO, Herbert Diess, and Volvo Cars CEO, Jim Rowan.
Diess targeted an 10-12% market share in the US and reiterated that he sees VW as a tech company not a car company.
On connectivity, he described modern cars as “most advanced devices on the internet”, saying: “Up until now, you do the hardware, electronics, software, you do the launch and then you don’t touch it anymore.
“Now, you continuously work on the systems in the car to deliver more functionality. In autonomous driving, the car becomes a learning device. You have to upgrade the software over time, you have to take all this responsibility.”
He also predicted it could take years for self-driving cars to master extreme weather.
Like feature phones to smartphones
Next up was new Volvo Cars CEO, Jim Rowan. Formerly of Dyson and BlackBerry, he likened the current state of play in the automotive industry to that of the telecoms industry as it moved from feature phones to smartphones.
“The smartphone enriched that product to a level that no one had really envisaged, and how much more that became a part of everyday life was transformational,” he said.
“The same thing is going to happen in the auto industry, or in the next generation mobility industry as I prefer to call it. What we’ll be able to do with next gen mobility is going to be tremendously different from what we currently do with cars.
“I think you’ll see great technology being used across every car going forward. We’re actually seeing that right now, and that’s only going to accelerate.
“Remember, the next generation that we need to bring into the car market is Gen Z, digital natives born into a digital world. They expect connectivity, they expect services to be available seamlessly between their car, home and phone. It’s not a wow factor to them.”
Connected and automated mobility
There followed a panel discussion on “Revolutionising the in-vehicle experience and turning it into a recurring revenue stream”, with TJ Fox, Senior Vice President of Industrial IoT and Automotive at Verizon Business, Gianmarco Brunetti, Head of Commercial Transformation at Jaguar Land Rover, and recent Cars of the Future interviewee, Inma Martinez, from the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI).
Fox focused on the infrastructure – network quality and reliability across all use cases, especially for “mission critical” applications.
“Vehicles will be constantly updated to continually get better than they were the day they came off the production line, and 5G will be underpinning that moving forward,” he said.
While Brunetti focused on the customer experiences. “I expect that in the future we will be mainly focusing on two things,” he said.
“First, how we can be of more service to the customer, how we can make their day-to-day experience better; and second, how can we leverage technology to make our operations better and more efficient.”
Martinez set out GPAI’s aim, as a partnership of 25 OECD nations, to ensure that artificial intelligence becomes “a tool for good, and progress and welfare”.
“At the moment, data is basically just for safety,” she said. “In the very near future, it will be used to make cars really smart – evolving, self-learning AI – gathering data from the exterior to create situational awareness.
“Safety was always the biggest goal that governments imposed on the sector, now it is CO2 emissions, but traditionally it was safety. The auto industry is very close to the space and the aerospace industries – the aim is zero errors, pure perfection.”
It was a great start to the event, and we look forward to the headline act tomorrow evening, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed for a live hour-long interview.
Indy Autonomous Challenge winner PoliMOVE sets new self-driving world speed record at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Professor Sergio Savaresi, team leader for Politecnico di Milano, commented: “We saw what the future holds for autonomous vehicles and credit goes to the entire PoliMOVE team, especially Dr Brandon Dixon.
“We were running a car operating on algorithms alone, where precision is paramount, and any small prediction error could have created a completely different outcome.
“This test run was exhilarating, and we are thrilled with the world record, but we’re also excited by the fact that this data will be made available to all, and the industry will benefit from our work.”
Politecnico di Milano specialises in engineering and industrial design, with many courses taught in English.
The Politecnico research group, led by Prof. Savaresi, has been studying automatic controls on everything from electric bicycles to tractors for over 20 years.
This week, the PoliMOVE team moved on to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for further high-speed testing… this time involving turning! We await the results with interest.
The Institute of the Motor Industry already has a skills solution for ADAS and is looking ahead to full self-driving.
In a recent MotorPro podcast, AA President Edmund King predicted that connected and self-driving vehicles will lead to “radical changes” in the UK automotive industry. He’s quite right of course and, as you’d expect, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is ahead of the game.
Steve Scofield FIMI, Head of Business Development at the IMI, commented: “We’re already on the road to full autonomy, starting with the lower levels of automation. For instance, our e-learning skills solution and campaigns around Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
“That’s currently the biggest issue for the real-world car parc, whether for accident repair or maintenance and repair. Very soon we’ll be launching new ADAS qualifications, and that’s just the start of our journey.
“From a skills perspective, the IMI is downstream of the research and testing being conducted by groups like the Department for Transport’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV). But we’re continually horizon-scanning and engaging with key stakeholders – that’s all part of being future-proof.
“We have strong partnerships with organisations like Thatcham and BSI to make sure we can see what’s coming, to build-in industry requirements, to drive continuing professional development (CPD), and to ensure there’s recognition of accredited training.”
A good example is IMI TechSafe, which identifies a member’s professionalism and safe working in the field of electric vehicles (EVs) and other safety-critical systems, including autonomous and driver assistance systems.
The repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles is covered by British Standard BS10125, formerly known as PAS 125, and most insurance companies will only give work to businesses that meet the standard.
PAS stands for Publicly Available Specification, and BSI is working on three new ones: PAS 1880 on guidelines for developing and assessing control systems for automated vehicles; PAS 1881 on assuring safety for autonomous vehicle trials and testing; and PAS 1882 on data collection and management for automated vehicle trials for the purpose of incident investigation. According to BSI, around 30% of PASs go on to form the basis of international standards.
Steve Scofield continued: “Our IMI industry Sector Advisory Group, which includes around 75 organisations, will be looking closely at autonomous. It’s really important for us to sow the seeds early, to embed qualifications around autonomous into our training centres so our membership is ready for the changing environment.
“Bear in mind that the Law Commission is only just putting together the regulatory framework for self-driving in the UK. We’re not far down the road with autonomous yet, we’re mainly talking level one and two driver assistance, but you can see the world is shifting towards ACES – Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared.
“It’s exciting for talent acquisition because it should help us to attract the next generation. Young people are very interested in low carbon and the green agenda. They also like the idea of working in a dynamic, rapidly evolving sector.
“Just this week, [IMI chief executive] Steve Nash and I were at a John Deere training academy seeing how they use GPS to position their vehicles within a centimetre or two. For road vehicles there’s the whole connectivity side, how these vehicles will talk to the infrastructure, the vehicle manufacturer, the vehicle owner and other vehicles.
“I don’t have all of the answers at this stage, I can just see bits of it as we’re researching. What’s very clear is that the motor industry will need a lot more talent in software, as well as the usual vehicle systems.”
In terms of bottom line benefits, IMI analysis of salary data for 2020 showed an earning premium of more than 10% for EV qualified technicians. That’s about £3,700 per annum extra in your pay packet for specialising in cutting-edge tech.
Please note: a version of this article was first published by the Institute of the Motor Industry’s MotorPro magazine.
Industry letter to UK Prime Minister calls for primary legislation to seize global self-driving opportunity.
The top brass from 17 major UK businesses have jointly written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for the Government to announce primary legislation for automated vehicles (AVs) in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May.
The broad coalition consists of representatives from the self-driving sector – AECOM, Aurrigo, Conigital, Wayve and Westfield Technology Group – the insurance sector – Admiral, the Association of British Insurers (ABI), AXA, Thatcham Research and Zego – the tech sector – Coadec, techUK and Virgin – the finance sector – firstminute capital and Eclipse Ventures – and supermarket groups ASDA and Ocado.
Legal framework for self-driving
Together, they call for a comprehensive legal framework for the safe and sustainable deployment of AVs, citing economic and societal benefits including improved road safety and reduced emissions.
Sky News concluded that: “The letter contained a veiled warning to ministers, including the business secretary, that time was running out to keep pace with rival regulatory frameworks.”
Notably, in Germany, 13,000km of motorway are already approved for Level 3 automated driving.
The letter quotes statistics from the Connected Places Catapult – the government’s innovation agency for the transport industry – including “an export potential worth £10.9bn by 2035.”
Dougie Barnett, Director of Customer Risk Management at AXA UK, commented: “As one of the largest motor insurers, AXA is keen to support, promote and enable the take-up of automated technology on UK roads.
“AVs would provide significant societal benefits, including safer, cleaner and more accessible roads and, via the development of the technology, would support SMEs scaling up and subsequently levelling-up throughout the UK.
“However, the development of self-driving technology needs to be underpinned by a robust legal and regulatory framework, which prioritises the safety of all road users.
“With this letter, we are urging the Government to announce primary legislation for AVs, ensuring safety remains at the heart of their development and deployment as well as advancing the benefits they bring to society.”
Self-driving legislation letter
The letter, dated 21 April 2022 and titled “Primary Legislation for Automated Vehicles”, was addressed to PM Boris Johnson and cc’d to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT) and Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The full text reads…
Dear Prime Minister,
We write from across industry to highlight the benefits of automated vehicles (AVs) to the UK and call on the Government to announce primary legislation for Automated Vehicles in the upcoming Queen’s Speech. We welcome the extensive work of the Law Commissions of England and Wales, and Scotland, who have collaborated with industry to propose a comprehensive legal framework for the safe and sustainable deployment of AVs.
The UK has a unique opportunity to be a global leader in the development and deployment of AVs, or self-driving vehicles. This technology is the most exciting innovation for transport in decades and has the potential to level-up every corner of the UK, improve the country’s productivity, create jobs, reduce emissions, improve road safety, and bolster opportunities everywhere.
Beyond the significant economic opportunity, this transition is essential to meet the Government’s Net Zero target. Self-driving electric vehicles could greatly reduce congestion, pollution and fuel consumption. In addition, they offer huge opportunities for an increase in safety and reduction in road deaths. Research shows that a shift to AVs could bring a 93% reduction in accidents by 2040. And since road accidents are the leading cause of death among those aged 15-29, many thousands of lives are likely to be saved.
We urge the Government to consider the benefit this can bring to people’s everyday lives across the country too. Automated mobility has the potential to better connect rural communities and provide people with better access to opportunities. For example, a visually impaired person who can’t drive or navigate public transport easily will be able to stay connected to their friends and family via a self-driving mobility service. AVs also mean goods, like our everyday groceries, can be moved around the country more efficiently and safely, supporting the green transition of the last-mile delivery market which is predicted to be worth £44bn by 2025.
It is crucial that we unlock this technology and create a safe regulatory framework for people across the UK. This is a critical year in the development of this technology, as we see more examples of AVs moving closer to deployment. The Government needs to introduce legislation this year, to ensure the UK remains a world leader in AVs, and continues attracting investment to the UK. We are aware that other countries are looking to legislate this year and we strongly recommend that the UK maintains its global stance in this industry.
We would be pleased to discuss any of the above and look forward to continued engagement with the Government as the regulatory framework for the safe use of self-driving technology evolves.
Claudio Gienal, CEO, AXA UK&I Alex Kendall, Co-founder and CEO, Wayve Josh Bayliss, CEO, Virgin Group Prof. David Keene, CEO, Aurrigo Cristina Nestares, UK CEO, Admiral Matthew Avery, CEO, Thatcham Research Julian Turner, CEO, Westfield Technology Group Don Dhaliwal, CEO, Conigital Limited Dom Hallas, Executive Director, Coadec Tim Steiner OBE, CEO, Ocado Group Brent Hoberman, Co-founder & Executive Chairman, firstminute capital Sten Saar, CEO, Zego Seth Winterroth, Partner, Eclipse Ventures Andy Barker, COO, AECOM Julian David, CEO, techUK James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy, ABI Simon Gregg, Senior Vice President – E-Commerce, ASDA
Looking ahead to conditionally automated driving, owners need to understand their car’s capabilities and their responsibilities
Just last week, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, had this to say about changes to The Highway Code related to self-driving: “Vehicle manufacturers and sellers will have a vital role to play in ensuring their customers fully appreciate the capabilities of the cars they buy and the rules that govern them.”
Quite so. Unfortunately, no matter how thorough the handover, settings get forgotten and drivers find themselves reaching for the good old owner’s handbook. Which makes this eye-catching research by Scrap Car Comparison all the more worrying.
The salvage specialist analysed the owner’s manuals for 100 of the UK’s most popular vehicles. It found that Audi has by far the heftiest, with the R8 being longest at 616,064 words, followed by the e-tron at 603,649 words, both, incredibly, three times longer than the Ford F-Series in third at 194,305 words.
To put that into perspective, at an average English silent reading speed of 238 words per minute, both the R8 and e-tron manuals take over 40 hours to complete, comparable to Tolstoy’s titanic tome, War and Peace.
At a mere 76,944 words, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is well under half the size of the 163,225-word Ford Focus manual.
Top 10 longest vehicle manuals
Vehicle Make & Model
Manual Word Count
Average Time To Read
43 hours 9 minutes
42 hours 16 minutes
13 hours 36 minutes
Ram Pickup 1500
12 hours 24 minutes
12 hours 11 minutes
11 hours 46 minutes
11 hours 28 minutes
11 hours 25 minutes
11 hours 4 minutes
The shortest manuals list is dominated by two-wheelers, with the Vmoto Super Soco CPX electric scooter taking top spot, with only 2,834 words. Only three cars made the shortest manuals top 10 – the Range Rover Evoque, Nissan Leaf and VW Polo.
Top 10 shortest vehicle manuals
Vehicle Make & Model
Manual Word Count
Average Time To Read
Vmoto Super Soco CPX
Honda NSC 110 Vision
1 hour 3 minutes
Range Rover Evoque
1 hour 9 minutes
1 hour 28 minutes
1 hour 30 minutes
Yamaha NMAX 125
1 hour 33 minutes
Honda SHi 125
1 hour 38 minutes
Yamaha Ténéré 700
2 hours 14 minutes
In addition to reading length, the study also used the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Score to rank the accessibility of each manual.
It found the McLaren 765LT supercar manual to be the most difficult to digest, with a Flesch-Kincaid score of 44.3, requiring the equivalent of a college-level education to understand it.
The Vauxhall Crossland X and BMW 2 Series completed the top three for impenetrability, all with an 18+age suitability rating.
Top 10 hardest to readvehicle manuals
Vehicle Make & Model
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Score
Age Suitability (years)
Vauxhall Crossland X
BMW 2 Series
Ferrari 812 Superfast
Vauxhall Grandland X
Range Rover Evoque
At the more accessible end of the spectrum, Tesla’s Model Y was found to be the easiest manual to understand, scoring 76.92 on the Flesch-Kincaid scale, suitable for those aged 12-13 and above.
Toyota also did well, taking second and third spots with its Tacoma and Tundra manuals.
Top 10 easiest to readvehicle manuals
Vehicle Make & Model
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Score
Age Suitability (years)
Tesla Model Y
Chevrolet Bolt EV
Honda NSC 100 Vision
Porsche 911 Turbo S
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Dan Gick, Managing Director at Scrap Car Comparison, commented: “Vehicle owner manuals are a great resource which can teach you not only how to get the most out of your car, but also how to maintain your vehicle so that you can drive it safely.
“While some seem to get it right in terms of reading length and accessibility, other manufacturers may need to think about whether they’re making their manuals overly complex.”
Tara Andringa, Executive Director of Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) talks self-driving surveys, international expansion and more
The organisation with a mission to “inform the public about automated vehicles” is expanding fast – launching PAVE Canada in February and now, PAVE Europe.
Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) in Europe
On 17 March 2022, at the Autonomy Paris sustainable mobility conference, PAVE Europe announced six “Founding Members”, and a very prestigious bunch they are too. In alphabetical order: financial services provider, Achmea; autonomous vehicle technology specialists, EasyMile and Mobileye; the world’s largest reinsurer, Swiss Re; Cologne-based safety tester TÜV Rheinland; and the company born of Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo.
From a UK perspective, we note the involvement of Lukas Nekermann, MD of London-based Neckermann Strategic Advisors and author of the influential 2015 book, The Mobility Revolution. Both he and Frederic John, who together co-authored 2020’s Being Driven, are credited as the “co-initiators” of PAVE Europe.
We caught up with Tara Andringa, Executive Director of PAVE, to find out more.
TA: “We’ve achieved a lot since your last article – made progress on projects we spoke about and launched some brand new ones too.
“Our weekly virtual panels, which began during Covid, have continued to go extremely well. We thought there might be some Zoom fatigue once people got back to work, but in fact they’ve gotten more popular. We’ve had more than 16,000 people register for the panels live, and we have had an additional 20,000 views on YouTube.
“The virtual panels are a great way to spread the conversation about AVs and in January we won a prestigious award for them – a National Communications Award for Outstanding Public Education at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) conference in Washington.
Automated Vehicle Survey
“Another major success last fall was our survey work. We put together a powerhouse group with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and JD Power to track longitudinally how views change over time. We released the first results in November and we’re going to make it an annual thing.”
The headline result in 2021 was that only 37% of respondents correctly identified the description of a fully automated self-driving vehicle (according to SAE International’s definition) from seven possibilities. 55% of respondents selected descriptions aligned with driver assistance technology.
The results led Lisa Boor, senior manager of global automotive at J.D. Power, to quote the robot from Lost In Space, describing “a ‘Danger, Will Robinson’ moment for the fully automated self-driving vehicle industry”, with “a significant gap between actual and perceived AV knowledge.”
TA: “Another thing we mentioned last time was our public sector workshop with the state of Ohio. We’ve tried to really build out that program, working a lot on state engagement here in the United States. We help to educate public sector officials, to give them the information they need to make choices for their communities and educate their constituencies.”
Which brings us to your international expansion.
TA: “Yes. We’ve realised that, while every government is taking a different regulatory approach, the public confusion and misperceptions are a global phenomenon. So, we’ve decided to expand PAVE’s mission elsewhere, so each country or continent will have its own chapter or sister organisation.
“Public sector engagement is such an important part of this. Each government is looking at different policy options, but this is a global industry. Our new Canadian and European members will be able to network with our US members, to collaborate, but also do their own thing, run their own events tailored to local needs.”