Uber may have to fight another competitor as Taxi UK firm, Addison Lee plans to launch self-driving taxi’s in 2021.
The firm hopes to roll it out in London within the next three years and is banking on its partnership with self-driving software specialist, Oxbotica to reach its target.
Addison Lee says it will start out on its path by digitally mapping 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
Andy Boland, Addison boss, said it plans to offer shared minibus shuttles to passengers to use to get to work, to study or to the airport.
Boland also believes the initiative would help the firm ‘address congestion, free space used for parking and improve urban air quality.’
Uber, which won a case against the City of London to continue operating as normal this year, is also investing in driverless cars. It hopes to put it out in the future, pending regulatory permission.
Critics say the autonomous vehicle tech may be being rushed to the market premature
The industry has been forecast to be worth £28bn in the UK by 2035.
Mr. Boland said he wanted Addison Lee to be at the ‘forefront’ of the shift to self-driving cars.
The firm, which is owned by private equity giant Carlyle, reported a £20.8m annual loss in its most recent results to August last year.
A loss it blamed on its switch from ‘a London private hire business to a global premium ground transport provider.’
Self-driving cars have been hailed as the future of the ride-hailing industry as well as a way to reduce traffic accidents.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said last year he wanted to have ‘fully driverless cars’ without a safety attendant on board in use by 2021.
Other companies including Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler and car supplier Bosch are also investing in the development of self-driving vehicles.
Uber temporarily suspended autonomous car testing in all cities in the US and Canada after some accidents were recorded.