Private hire firm Addison Lee has signed a strategic partnership with UK software startup Oxbotica to bring self-driving car services to Londoners by 2021.
Addison Lee said the two firms will collaborate on technological development, deployment and operation of self-driving cars to first provide affordable ride-sharing taxi services in the capital. In the long term, it also hopes to expand the technology to include operation on corporate shuttles, airport and campus-based services.
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.
Addison Lee chief executive Andy Boland said 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.
However the partnership is also a sign of the business’ increased fervour in the fight against the rise of its biggest rival Uber, which is set to go public next year at a valuation of up to $120bn (£91.7bn).
Addison Lee recently began talks with banks about a £300m refinancing plan, aiming to strengthen its assets as it plots overseas expansion.