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June 3, 2021

Aviva and Darwin team on autonomous vehicle trial

Insurance needs are equally important when it comes to evaluating AV future.

By Simon Warburton

Aviva and Darwin Innovation Group are starting a five-year partnership, beginning with collaboration on an autonomous vehicle trial.

Darwin is trialling an autonomous shuttle at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, UK.

Created by Navya, the vehicle, controlled by 5G and satellite connectivity, will be able to pick passengers up, transport them around the campus and drop them off at their destination, without the involvement of a human driver. A second shuttle is expected to be added in the second year of operation.

The electric shuttles will operate 24/7, which will allow the capture of data in different light and weather conditions and will transmit it via 5G and satellite channels. The vehicles will have a high level of automation – level 4 – according to SAE International’s levels of driving automation – and do not have a steering wheel.

Darwin has mapped out the campus and provided the shuttles with information to navigate the area. The shuttles will be able to communicate with each other and will be equipped with sensors, so they can navigate without obstructing each other and can react to unexpected obstacles.

The trial will showcase the application of connected autonomous vehicles and allow Aviva to build its first insurance model for this type of vehicle, which will evolve as the trial progresses.

The trial with Aviva builds on the October, 2020 launch by O2 and Darwin Innovation Group of the Darwin SatCom Lab, the UK’s first commercial laboratory for 5G and satellite communications, situated at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. The laboratory enables companies such as Aviva to explore next-generation connectivity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles using both 5G and satellite communications.

“With this trial, we’re able to be there right from the start of the real-life application of autonomous vehicles operating on public roads, which will change not only our relationship with these vehicles but, more fundamentally, how we insure them,” said Aviva COO, Nick Amin.

“Autonomous vehicles could change the face of motor insurance within a decade. Through having access to the data from this trial, we can understand today the kinds of things we’ll have to consider in the future to keep passengers, pedestrians and all other road users safe when driverless technology hits public roads.”

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