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First Ever Road Test for 'Cuddly' Driverless Car Takes Place in UK

© Photo : OxboticaAn Oxbotica driverless car
An Oxbotica driverless car - Sputnik International
An autonomous vehicle has been spotted on Britain's streets for the first time ever after robotech firm Oxbotica took its "cuddly" car out for a test drive.

The driverless car, which looks a bit like a pod, has been unveiled to the public in Milton Keynes.

"It's really exciting to launch the system in the real world and watch it interact with people after so many months of testing," Graeme Smith CEO of Oxbotica told Sputnik. 

​"People have been really curious and we've been able to successfully negotiate the walkways and mingle with pedestrians, cyclists and dogs," Smith said.

"Some shoppers are really interested, others haven't noticed the car at all as it quietly navigates the city, they're still stuck on their smartphones or playing Pokemen Go."

Oxbotica, the technology off-shoot company of the University of Oxford's Mobile Robotics Group, is behind the UK's first driverless car. 

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Software called Selenium is responsible for the car's inbuilt intelligence system which captures and stores data from cameras, scanners, sensors and radars to construct algorithms that enable the car to "feel" its surroundings.

It's this software that has been put to the test and out on show in Milton Keynes.

​"What we're seeing is the conclusion of a relationship between the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) in Milton Keynes and Oxbotica as part of the Lutz Pathfinder project," Smith told Sputnik.

"After 139 years' worth of work, the team is really excited to see it come together in one place and show the rest of the world what we've been up to."

The car, which was once blue, has had a respray and is now white, and according to one of its developers, looks rather "cuddly."

"What they see is a small friendly vehicle with a couple of people in it; it's a cuddly looking car," Mr. Smith told Sputnik. 

Neil Fulton, program director at TSC told reporters at the launch that, "this public demonstration represents a major milestone for autonomous vehicles in the UK and the culmination of an extensive project involving UK companies and experts."

"Driverless vehicles are coming to Britain and what we have demonstrated [in Milton Keynes] is a huge step on that journey," Mr. Fulton said.

​And according to Mr. Smith, sights like this could become more common in British towns and cities over the next 20 years.

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