People in Autonomous Vehicles in Urban Environments (PAVE)
People in Autonomous Vehicles in Urban Environments (PAVE) is a consortium made up of RACE, Siemens, Amey, Oxbotica and Westbourne.

People in Autonomous Vehicles in Urban Environments (PAVE) is a consortium made up of RACE, Siemens, Amey, Oxbotica and Westbourne.

PAVE has received funding from the Government, via the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK, to conduct a study to test the feasibility of Culham Science Centre as a test location for driverless vehicles.

Each partner’s role in the project

oxbotica - robotics & autonomous systems

Exploring the practicalities of using driverless cars at Culham


Identifying smart infrastructure use cases to accelerate real world implementation

Remote Applications in Challenging Environments

Establishing secure foundations for Culham Science Centre as a national test facility

siemens - Assessing opportunities to test intelligent mobility solutions

Assessing opportunities to test intelligent mobility solutions

Westbourne Engagement - Finding out what the public think of driverless cars and Culham Science Centre

Finding out what the public think of driverless cars and Culham Science Centre

What do we mean when we say ‘driverless car’

For the purpose of this exhibition and the questions we are asking people today, we have taken the following as the definition of a driverless car:

“A car which is capable of operating on the road network without human intervention, and in which a driver need not be able and ready to assume control”. Department for Transport, 2014


oxbotica - What is a driveless car?

Key Facts:

  • Selenium is the software that gives the car its intelligence, which has been developed by Oxbotica
  • Selenium is currently suitable for pedestrianised or low traffic environments, like campuses. It can operate indoors or outdoors at a maximum speed of 15-20 kph
  • It uses a vision, LIDAR or hybrid-based system to identify obstacles, pedestrians and free spaces
  • It uses a vision-based (camera) or laser-based navigation system to steer around obstacles
  • It has a laser safety curtain, where the vehicle stops if something interrupts the laser beam
  • By 2017, Selenium should be capable of handling urban environments
  • By 2018, the software should be ready to operate in higher-speed traffic on motorways

What are we doing today?

We have been tasked with understanding what people think about driverless cars and about Culham Science Centre as a test location.

This event is part of a series of public exhibitions and workshops where we will be asking people for their views on a range of relevant issues.

We believe that driverless cars have huge potential but widespread adoption of the technology is dependent on gaining insight into what people think and addressing any concerns they may have.

Until now, the UK has not conducted a study into what the public thinks about driverless cars. There are a number of reasons why this is important:

  • The Government requires public support to make regulatory changes and commit funding to the development of the sector.
  • There needs to be consumer demand for driverless cars to encourage private investment in developing the technology.
  • The industry needs to truly understand what people are concerned about so companies can work to reassure people about issues relating to safety.

The reason we are holding this public exhibition today is to find out what you think.

We’d be very grateful if you could fill out a feedback form before you leave.

Self-driving vehicle technology has its origins as early as the 1920s, when the Achen Motor Company demonstrated a “phantom auto” in Milwaukee, America.

Self-driving vehicle technology

Throughout the 20th century, a number of international car companies and researchers experimented with the technology, – but with limited success.

experimenting with the technology

It was not until the mid-2000s, – with the US government’s DARPA Grand Challenge, – that advancements in the technology were accelerated.

DARPA Grand Challenge

In 2005, Sebastian Thrun, a researcher at Stanford University who would later go on to found Google X, won the DARPA’s Grand Challenge with his robot vehicle “Stanley” and sparked the development of Google’s self-driving cars.

Robot Vehicle “Stanley” Sebastian Thrun

There have been a number of advances over the last decade which have moved us closer to the ultimate goal of a driverless car.

Self-Parking Systems

This system allows a vehicle to parallel or reverse park completely hands free.

Lane-keeping technologies

Allows automated control of acceleration, braking and steering for periods of time on motorways, major A-roads and in congested traffic

Advanced Emergency Braking Systems

A system that automatically applies its brakes to help drivers avoid a collision.

Driverless car technology has the potential to deliver transformative economic and social benefits to the UK. However, it is not without its challenges. Some of the big questions include:

  • What will they mean for the safety of road users and pedestrians?
  • What impact will they have on the environment?
  • What impact will they have on society?
  • What ethical challenges do driverless cars present?
  • What impact will they have on the economy?

There are a number of reasons why we believe Culham Science Centre, in Oxfordshire, is a suitable location for testing driverless cars.

  • Culham Science Centre has a history of being at the forefront of scientific research and is home to a number of companies who use robotics as part of their daily work.
  • There are realistic road conditions which make the centre suitable for testing, but the roads are private. This means that testing will not be impacted by road closures, road works and temporary diversions as may be the case on public highways.
  • The fact that Culham Science Centre is fenced off and closed to the public means that the technology can be tested there with minimal risk to the general public.
  • Starting with driverless cars technology, Culham Science Centre can become a test bed for connected intelligent mobility solutions for road, rail and air.
  • Located near Oxford, Culham Science Centre can capitalise on and support an emerging sector built on advanced engineering, information technology and science.
  • It will bring economic growth to the region by supporting the development of Smart Oxford and the Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan.

This is what we think. But we really want to hear from you.

Feedback Form

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