Addison Lee plans self-driving taxis in London by 2021

Addison Lee self drive car

Taxi firm Addison Lee is betting its customers will be ready to, in London at least, in just three years’ time.

It has joined forces with self-driving software specialist Oxbotica, and says the tie-up means it will offer self-driving taxis in the capital by 2021.

The move will pit it against rival ride-hailing app Uber, which is also planning to roll out driverless cars on its network in the future, pending regulatory permission.

Addison Lee says it will now work with Oxbotica on digitally mapping public roads in and around the capital.

The detailed maps will record the position of kerbs, road signs and traffic lights in preparation for autonomous cars.

Addison boss Andy Boland said it hopes to offer shared minibus shuttles to passengers, to use to get to work, to study or to the airport.

He said the technology would help the firm “address congestion, free space used for parking and improve urban air quality”.

For the moment, the two will work on building digital maps of more than 250,000 miles of public roads in and around London. Following that, the partnership will extend into New York and other international locations.

Boland added that the deal is symbolic of how the firm intends to be “at the very forefront” of the future of transport, with an aim to revolutionise commuting around the city.

Addison Lee recently began talks with banks about a £300m refinancing plan, aiming to strengthen its assets as it plots overseas expansion.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said last year he wanted to have “fully driverless cars” without a safety attendant on board in use by 2021.