Tag Archives: Oxbotica

Oxbotica and TRL draft off-highway automation Code of Practice

Oxbotica and TRL have piloted the use of what they say is the first Code of Practice for the safe and cost-effective deployment of autonomous vehicles in unstructured off-highway environments, such as mines, with a live trial conducted in a quarry using a number of off-road vehicles.

The Innovate UK-funded consortium has developed and demonstrated capabilities to adapt and retrofit autonomy, using robust low-cost sensors, to any vehicle, as well as drafting a Code of Practice that identifies the key elements for safe and efficient deployment of autonomous vehicles in off-road industries, the companies say.

Off-road environments feature more varied hazards and less structured scenarios than on-road settings with no universal highway rules, such as speed limits or junction etiquette. A Code of Practice helps standardise across industries and allows learnings from each domain to be shared, Oxbotica and TRL say.

“Off-road vehicles also have to interact with a wide variety of unpredictable objects in their environment, either because they block the vehicle’s path, such as undergrowth or tree branches, or because engaging with them is part of the vehicle’s primary function, such as harvesting or excavating,” they added.

With autonomous vehicles commonplace in many industries such as mining, working to deliver safety, efficiency and productivity, the Code of Practice will help organisations transition to new working practices and harness the potential benefits with no impact on safety, according to the firms.

To demonstrate the Code Of Practice and highlight its potential to work across a range of vehicles and industries, Oxbotica and TRL deployed a Ford Ranger and Range Rover Evoque, retrofitted with Oxbotica’s world-leading autonomy software platform, in a UK quarry in April 2021. The vehicles were fitted with a full suite of sensors, including LiDAR, Radar, and stereo cameras.

Oxbotica’s technology has already operated in a range of environments without road markings across Europe, Asia and America. Its software seamlessly transitions between sensors to operate across multiple domains and environments, according to the company.

“The software is capable of using sensors independently or fused in any combination, meaning vehicles can drive with or without maps, depending what is available at any given time,” Oxbotica added.

Ben Upcroft, VP of Technology at Oxbotica, said: “Our autonomy software platform is capable of being integrated with any vehicle, in any environment. In order to harness the true power of this technology, operational regulations need to be developed in unison to ensure safe and efficient deployment. Consortiums such as this are a key stepping stone in ensuring the safe operation of autonomous vehicles in complex scenarios, and enabling the scale up to full commercial deployment in industry settings.”

Dr Ianto Guy, Project Lead at TRL, said: “This Code of Practice seeks to provide high-level guidance to organisations, in all sectors of the off-highway industry, on the ways in which working practices should be adapted to ensure that the adoption of autonomy is as smooth and safe as possible. The aim is that this code will support safe practice, build public confidence, and encourage the cooperation between organisations across all industries employing off-highway autonomous vehicles.

“It is hoped that off-highway industries will use this code of practice as a starting point for discussion and build on the recommendations made here to develop comprehensive best practice guidelines.”

Oxbotica’s Open Autonomy plans receive investment boost

Oxbotica has announced the completion of a $47 million Series B investment to help accelerate commercial deployment of its autonomy software platform in mines around the world.

The news is an endorsement of Oxbotica’s go-to-market strategy, deploying its autonomy software in industrial use cases in advance of rolling out in urban passenger transportation applications in the future, it said.

Oxbotica is developing an Open Autonomy software platform for the mining industry, providing operators, integrators and manufacturers the autonomy functionality and flexibility they need − be that full stack, or on a component-by-component basis, it said. Back in June, it signed an MoU with Wenco International Mining Systems Ltd to further develop this solution for mining.

The company’s product is a software platform providing “Universal Autonomy”, it said, in a vast array of vehicle types both on and off road.

“The ability to move all vehicles, irrespective of size or type, with the same autonomy system means a mine can be orchestrated in a way not currently available,” the company said.

On the same day of this announcement, Halma announced it has agreed a strategic partnership with Oxbotica.

Navtech, a Halma company specialising in radar technology, has an existing relationship with Oxbotica focused on developing a radar-based navigation and perception system.

This new strategic partnership will deepen the relationship and provide additional technologies and capabilities to accelerate its autonomous vehicle solutions, according to Halma.

Andrew Williams, Halma’s Group Chief Executive, said: “Oxbotica’s vision – working to make roads safer, environments cleaner and industries more efficient – is aligned with our purpose to grow a safer, cleaner and healthier future for everyone, every day. Our partnership will enable Oxbotica to accelerate the roll-out of its autonomy software globally and will bring exciting new capabilities for Navtech to develop its radar technology solutions and accelerate its growth.”

Oxbotica was founded in 2014 by Oxford University professors, Paul Newman and Ingmar Posner. Since then, the company has grown from a UK robotics start-up to one of the world’s leading autonomy companies, Oxbotica says.

Oxbotica and Navtech working on radar-based automation solution for mines

Oxbotica and Navtech have announced the joint product development of a radar-based navigation and perception system, to be launched in 2020.

The product represents the latest advancement in radar-based technology from Navtech and the partnership marks an important milestone in Oxbotica’s plans to take its automation-focused software from development towards commercial deployment.

The multi-module localisation system (radar, vision and laser) allows customers to deploy autonomy in both on-road and off-road locations, whether in mines, ports or airports and whatever the weather conditions where standard GPS or LiDAR is not possible, the companies said.

They explained: “The Oxbotica and Navtech product will not be reliant on any external infrastructure and can operate on its own or be fused with other location services driven by GPS, LiDAR or laser vision as part of Oxbotica’s modular and integrated approach.”

Oxbotica has already successfully tested its proprietary algorithms in a variety of environments and conditions as part of its Localisation module development and wider full-stack autonomy solution. This will be twinned with Navtech’s expertise in bringing autonomy sensors to market around the world.

Oxbotica says its autonomous driving software has been deployed in many different environments including cities, mines, airports, quarries and ports as part of its Universal Autonomy commitment: enabling any vehicle in any industry to drive itself with total freedom from external infrastructure dependency.

Navtech is a leading innovator, award-winning designer and manufacturer of commercially deployed radar solutions with safety at its core, according to the company. It manufactures a range of sensors that provide the performance to deliver on the promise of all-weather sensing in real world applications. This sees its sensors used in mission-critical applications around the world including security surveillance, road safety systems and industrial autonomous vehicles.

Ozgur Tohumcu, Oxbotica CEO, said: “This collaboration with Navtech is a key milestone in bringing autonomy especially to off-road domains such as mines, ports, or airports where existing LiDAR or GPS may not function effectively due to weather or operating conditions such as dust, rain, or snow.

“Navtech is a fantastic partner with their unbeatable track record of producing autonomy sensors – powering off-road autonomy around the world for nearly two decades. Incoming demand from customers and our own market research prove that there will be wide applications of this product addressing both on-road and off-road deployments.”

Phil Avery, CEO of Navtech, said: “Navtech are delighted to be working with Oxbotica on this project. Despite the potential of radar very few companies have successfully developed the necessary algorithms to use it properly. Oxbotica are world leaders in this area and, together with our high-performance radars sensors, we believe the resulting system will deliver a step change in the performance available for all-weather all-environment localisation and perception. This is crucial for automation in more challenging environments such as mines and ports.”

Oxbotica employs autonomy specialist to bolster off-road automation capabilities

Oxbotica, the autonomous software company, has appointed Richard Jinks (pictured) as Vice President – Commercial as it looks to take advantage of opportunities in industries such as mining and farming.

Jinks, who joins from AXA XL where he previously established a global autonomy programme, will have a specific focus on Off-Road and Risk Solutions, Oxbotica said.

“He will develop the company’s portfolio across off-highway industries, manage relationships and further extend its reach in international markets,” the company said.

The appointment is the latest in a number of moves Oxbotica has made to facilitate its rapid international growth, the company said. “These include the completion of a £14 million ($18 million) funding round, a strategic partnership with Addison Lee to collaborate on the deployment of autonomous vehicle services, and the appointment of Fraser Robinson, former Uber Head of Business, to its Board of Directors.”

Oxbotica says its software uses the latest in computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable vehicles to operate autonomously in any environment and on any terrain. “Its infrastructure-free, localisation software is already deployed in multiple industry-leading international customer projects in vehicles on roads in complex urban environments.”

Jinks said: “Autonomous vehicles will eventually become ubiquitous on public roads, but there are enormous opportunities in many industries – whether that’s at airports, down mines or in farms – to capitalise on in the intervening period and beyond.”

Oxbotica raises funds to further autonomous vehicle ambitions

Oxford, UK-based autonomous vehicle software developer Oxbotica has raised £14 million ($18.4 million) to scale up its activities in Europe, Asia and the US, in sectors including mining.

Founded in 2014 on research from Oxford University’s Robotics Institute, Oxbotica’s software uses computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable vehicles to operate autonomously in any environment and on any terrain, the company says.

Its control system, Selenium, allows vehicles to sense their surroundings without external infrastructure such as GPS, while Caesium, Oxbotica’s cloud-based fleet management system, can schedule and co-ordinate fleets of vehicles.

Oxbotica’s software has been deployed across multiple projects where the future application of autonomy is being trialled, such as with online grocery company Ocado, at Heathrow Airport (pictured) and on major city streets in the UK. A spokesman for the company confirmed the software is also being trialled with mining organisations.

Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica, said: “We are on a mission to bring autonomous software to the world’s biggest markets. We have already seen extraordinary demand from a range of sectors and markets, with the successful deployment of our technology across a strong customer base over the previous four years.

“This injection of funds comes as we move the business into its next growth phase, enabling us to deliver our ambitious plans to scale our capabilities and international presence.”

Oxbotica says its mission is to enable its customers to access, customise and integrate the world’s leading mobile autonomy IP into their own products.