October 16, 2023
British self-driving tech company Oxa is teaming with Austrian-based bus manufacturer eVersum to develop and produce autonomous passenger vehicles.
The AVs will be offered to public transport operators in the United States and Europe, and the first fruit of the partnership’s labors will be the city-focused eShuttle, with an initial deployment set to be confirmed this year and likely to be in the United Kingdom.
The arrangement will see the eShuttle make use of the Oxford-based firm’s Oxa Driver software, which was previously known as the Oxbotica Driver before the company rebranded.
The Oxa Driver has been developed as the cornerstone of Oxa’s central ethos of Universal Autonomy, which is based on the idea of bringing flexible automated functionality to any area, making the tech suitable for different applications.
It can integrate with existing software, regardless of the hardware required and as such will be used in eVersum’s electric base vehicles, which will also incorporate a suite of sensors and further computing technology to deliver the autonomous functionality.
The eShuttle is said to be able to accommodate up to 50 passengers, with seating for 20, and is described by the developers as a “low-noise, zero-emission electric vehicle designed for on-road and public transport applications.”
It will be strategically pitched to address the need for more flexible public transit solutions as urban populations increase and congestion gets worse globally.
The requirement for multi-route services is proving a challenge for operators due to driver shortages and rising costs, and Oxa and eVersum believe that a turnkey autonomous solution such as the eShuttle can help prevent service cuts, which tend to disproportionately affect vulnerable communities, including the elderly and disabled.
Oxa CEO Gavin Jackson explained: “At Oxa, we believe next-generation shuttling can deliver vital benefits to cities and industries, and this partnership represents a momentous step forward for the future of self-driving technology. Together [with eVersum], we will transform the autonomous vehicle market with cost-effective, low-carbon turnkey solutions.”
Holger Postl, CEO of eVersum, added: “eVersum welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with AD-pioneer, Oxa, as we jointly embark on this exciting journey into the future of mobility. We’re delighted to have found a partner who aligns with our visions and priorities that include the real-life deployment of AD-shuttles in public transport operations.”
The agreement with eVersum follows Oxa’s securing of $140 million in Series C funding in January. It has subsequently emerged in the U.K. press that Google took a stake in the firm as part of this.
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