Although this taxi is driverless, Uber, a low-cost transportation service, may soon face new competition.
Imperium Drive is leading the charge in Milton Keynes, England, with its prototype driverless taxi that can be operated remotely to meet its next customer.
Users will be able to request a car using an app, which will then be driven remotely to where they are.
Unlike ordinary taxis, the passenger then takes control of the car and drives it to their desired location.
Koosha Kaveh, co-founder and CEO of Imperium Drive Ltd is positive that this new taxi will be equivalent to Uber in terms of convenience. The only difference is that it is the passenger doing the driving.
Everything will be quite handy with regards to the time taken for a car to come and the fact that it will be available on demand. Besides, the passenger saves money that they could otherwise use on an Uber ride by becoming their own driver. Upon reaching the destination, the passenger will simply pull over and, using the app, request a remote driver to take charge of the car. That way, they’ll leave with no concerns about parking.
The automobile is currently being tested by MK Stadium employees, but there are plans to extend it to Milton Keynes Dons FC football players as well.
Imperium Drive plans to launch its ride-hailing service, Fetch, later this year.
This project is part of the British Government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, which is a national endeavour.
Its purpose is to fund 5G applications in real-world settings, such as Milton Keynes.
According to Brian Matthews, head of transport at Milton Keynes Council, the project is geared towards investigating innovative transportation solutions that are on the horizon, with a focus on connected and autonomous cars. This is about evaluating 5G capabilities to improve and develop these services to the point where they can be deployed in the city.
For the experiments, Imperium Drive obtained over £4.5 million (€5.3 million) in funding from the various levels of government, as well as private companies, to conduct the experiments.
Kaveh further added that owing to 5G, the corporation may be able to take a significant step ahead.
5G provides substantially better bandwidth and ultra-low latency, allowing a virtual operator to safely drive at a higher velocity. The company is currently experimenting on the roads at 30 mph with 4G, which is the standard city speed limit.
It is not possible to remotely drive on dual-carrier highways. The company will simply extend its reach and use roads with greater speed restrictions thanks to 5G.
When will it be available?
The company plans to debut the service in March along particular routes in the city centre, using a 5-seater vehicle as the first step toward a much larger aim.
Kaveh reported that the objective is to increase the safety of remote driving over traditional driving, which is quite significant. They feel this is achievable owing to access to technological advancements such as computer vision and software.