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London Tech Week

Google bets on British driverless startup Oxa: Supercharging UK’s autonomous vehicle landscape

Picture credits: Oxa

In a significant development that cements the UK’s presence on the international stage of autonomous vehicles, Google has acquired a stake in Oxa (formerly Oxbotica), an autonomous vehicle tech startup, a spin-off from Oxford University. This investment follows the $140 million Series C funding round raised earlier this year. 

This investment by the technology powerhouse not only underscores its continued commitment to cutting-edge technology but also signifies its keen interest in furthering the progress of autonomous vehicles.

In addition to financial support, Google’s investment in Oxa is also expected to provide access to the tech giant’s expertise and resources in the field. The partnership is expected to accelerate innovation in the sector, enhancing the capabilities of autonomous vehicles and contributing to the growth of the industry in the UK.

Autonomous vehicle software

Founded in 2014 by Oxford professors Paul Newman and Ingmar Posner, Oxa develops autonomous vehicle software to be used in environments such as public transportation and job sites, instead equipping cars with sensors and offering robotaxi rides to the general public. 

Its autonomous software has low computing power requirements. They use laser vision and radar for localisation, redundancy, and cloud management services that enable businesses to help bring autonomy to vehicles.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is already one of the world’s biggest proponents of driverless cars through its business Waymo. Waymo, which began as a Google project in 2009, offers fully autonomous rides to members of the public in Phoenix and San Francisco. The deal could potentially lead to a tie-up between the two companies if customers use Waymo’s cars and Oxa’s software to operate driverless systems.

Elevates UK’s driverless car industry

Following Google’s investment in Oxa, the UK’s driverless car sector stands to attract further investments from tech giants, strengthening the UK’s position as a global leader in autonomous vehicle technology. Moreover, this partnership could serve as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth within the UK, bolstered by the increased demand for skilled professionals in the autonomous vehicle sector.

It will be interesting to see how this collaboration shapes the future of the autonomous vehicle industry. As we move further into the era of autonomous transportation, partnerships such as these will undoubtedly play a key role in dictating the pace and direction of this exciting and rapidly evolving industry.

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