Nominet to provide secure data exchange for autonomous vehicles

By: Nominet

Nominet is part of a three-year project exploring the infrastructure required to support the widespread use of autonomous vehicles.

The project, DRIVEN, is one of the first trials of ‘Level 4’ autonomous vehicles in the UK, where the driver does not need to watch the road or hold the steering wheel.  The trial explores the real-time assessment frameworks essential for the legal and safe use of automated vehicles. The project will include six vehicles trialled in urban areas and on motorways between London and Oxford.

Nominet will be providing trusted and secure data exchange for real-time transactions, including a framework for security and privacy, vital to future development of autonomous vehicles.

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet said: “For autonomous cars to become mainstream, the correct framework must be in place to so they can run safely and effectively. Working as part of this strong consortium, our team will be part of work that helps tackle those infrastructure challenges and keeps the UK at the forefront of this exciting field.”

DRIVEN is a consortium led by Oxbotica and other partners include Nominet, Oxford Robotics Institute, XL Catlin, Telefonica O2 UK, TRL, the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s RACE, Oxfordshire County Council, TfL and Westbourne Communications. DRIVEN has received a £8.6m grant awarded by Innovate UK.

This article was first published on 24th April 2017 on the website of Nominet.

Developing high-tech parking solutions in Oxford

By: Oxfordshire County Council

mobile phone

A new project has been announced that will see a high-tech approach to solving the problem of finding a Blue Badge parking space in Oxford and Witney.

The project is the result of a successful Oxfordshire County Council bid for almost £240,000 of government and will use big data and smart technology to guide vehicles towards available parking.

Called CASPAR (CollAborative Smart PARking project), the scheme will help provide up to the minute information showing the occupancy of Blue Badge spaces, carparks and some city centre pay and display spaces, as well as any new electric vehicle charge points.

Now that the money has been awarded the county council will look closely at the best ways to deliver the information and the infrastructure that would be needed.

It is likely that the information would be sent to a smartphone app that would be versatile enough to show users not only where there was a Blue Badge space available near their destination, but also to reroute them to the next nearest one if that space was taken before they got there.

The county council hopes that the scheme will help reduce stress for people trying to find somewhere to park as well as reducing congestion. Improved access to information effectively helps people to look ahead and plan journeys according to where facilities are available.

Llewelyn Morgan, Service Manager Infrastructure, Innovation & Development for Communities at the county council said: “Oxfordshire County Council is working at the cutting edge of transport at the moment and is helping a range of visions such as driverless cars and intelligent transport smartphone apps get off the ground. The way we travel continues to change, and technology has a valuable role to play through intelligent transport systems.

“The work being done now is great news especially for people who are seeking Blue Badge spaces or to charge their electric vehicle. Looking to the future there is also the prospect of the information collected by the system being pushed out to the next generation of ‘connected vehicles.”

A total of £238,928 for the project, which will start in April 2017, has been awarded from the DfT’s Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems fund following a bid submitted by Oxfordshire County Council.

This article first appeared on the website of Oxfordshire County Council on 7th April 2017.

Oxford Robotics Institute’s city mapping tech could transform council services

By: Oxford City Council

A new street mapping project could one day transform how Oxford City Council manages its services across the city.

Video: mapping Cornmarket, Oxford [playback: 2 x actual speed]

The project being trialled over the next few months by Oxford City Council and the University of Oxford’s Robotics Institute (ORI) will see sensors attached to a City Council street cleaner in the city centre to create 3D maps that can be used to trial the development of autonomous vehicles. 

At the same time, the research team at the ORI is exploring further data that may be obtained to help the City Council and its partners to better manage the city. The data being trialled as part of the project will include:

  • road and pavement surface damage
  • air quality
  • people numbers and movement
  • litter and fly-tipping
  • parked vehicles
  • broken streetlights and signs
  • heat loss from buildings

The information will enable more effective planning from the City Council and its partners while creating records of unreported issues such as fly-tipping for the Council to act upon. If the project is successful, the innovation could see the City Council add the mapping tool to its fleet of vehicles.

Sebastian Johnson, vice chair of the Smart Oxford Board and project manager at Oxford City Council, said: “Working with the Oxford Robotics Institute we are exploring how the City Council’s fleet of street cleaners and refuse collection vehicles can be fitted with sensors, developed by the ORI, to map the city. 

“At the same time we are looking to gather information and data that can help us improve the way we run the city as an efficient and effective Council. Our open data platform will also allow innovators to explore and use the data to create new ideas and applications.

“Oxford is the home to world-leading mobile autonomy and robotics research and development, and the City Council and our wider partners on the Smart Oxford Board are keen to support innovation and research to benefit those living in the city.”

Paul Newman, Professor of Information Engineering at the University of Oxford and EPSRC Leadership Fellow, said: “We are really excited to be working in our home city with the City Council to map and gather data using one of our NABU sensors on a street sweeper. This trial will help us with our own research for autonomous vehicles and will help the Council and other partners gather data that can improve the management and maintenance of the city”.

Oxford City Council is a founding partner of Smart Oxford, a strategic programme of a wide range of city partners working together to develop and promote Oxford as a smart city.

The City Council, along with its Smart Oxford partners, is keen to support innovative ways of trialling smart city technologies and solutions

The Smart Oxford project board acts to help initiate, orchestrate and support smart city activities and projects carried out. 

Data from the project will be published on the Oxfordshire Open Data platform which is available at


This article first appeared on the website of Oxford City Council on 11th April 2017.

A UK testbed for driverless vehicles

By: Smart Oxford


An Oxfordshire-based consortium is conducting a study to test the feasibility of the Culham Science Centre, just south of Oxford, as a UK test location for driverless vehicles.

PAVE (People in Autonomous Vehicles in Urban Environments) has received funding for the study from the Government, via the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK.

Culham Science Centre has a history of being at the forefront of scientific research and is already home to a number of companies who use robotics as part of their daily work, including the testing of driverless vehicles.

There are realistic road conditions at the Culham site which make the centre ideal for such testing, but with the additional enefit that the roads are private, which avoids the headaches of testing on public roads, with the legal and logistic ramifications – including road closures, road works and temporary diversions that happen on public highways.  

Because the Culham centre is fenced off and private, driverless technology can be tested there with minimal risk to the general public.

The group will also be carrying out a feasibility study to test public perceptions towards driverless vehicles in recognition of ongoing public apprehension. The findings of the research project could inform future Government policies and decisions related to driverless cars over the coming decades.

Members of the PAVE consortium (People in Autonomous Vehicles in Urban Environments) include RACE (UKAEA), Amey, Westbourne Communications, Siemens, RACE and Oxbotica, a spin-out from Oxford University’s internationally acclaimed Mobile Robotics Group.