FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FiveAI is a venture-funded, UK company based in London, Cambridge, Oxford, Bristol, Edinburgh and Millbrook. Our mission is to deliver urban travel that’s safe for everyone without costing the earth. We’ll do this by building fully self-driving vehicles that we’ll use to operate safe, flexible and convenient shared transportation services that complement existing public transport in cities. Combined with public transport, our services will be so attractive that no-one feels they need to own their own vehicle.
We’ll begin by demonstrating trial passenger services in London in late 2019 / early 2020. From there, we’ll develop a fuller, more comprehensive service offering for London, before taking our service to other major cities around the world.
FiveAI does not publish a public schedule of its activities.
FiveAI designs and operates its self-driving system in line with the UK Government’s Key Principles of Cyber Security for Connected and Automated Vehicles.
FiveAI’s activities operate under a comprehensive safety case. We have sought guidance from TRL, the UK’s globally-renowned, independent transport research and consultancy service specialising in road and vehicle safety. FiveAI’s safety case complies with the Department for Transport’s Code of Practice for testing. FiveAI’s self-driving system is subject to stringent testing on private track before activities are conducted on public roads. FiveAI’s activities on public roads are preceded by engagement with the relevant authorities including the police and local authorities.
In line with the current legal requirements in the UK, all FiveAI’s vehicles are supervised by a safety driver while operating in autonomous mode. The safety driver is responsible for taking and enacting decisions about safety if the system encounters a hazard which is outside its operational design domain. FiveAI’s safety drivers are trained and tested to ensure they are familiar with any limitations of the self-driving system.
Autonomous driving in the urban environment has the potential to deliver major benefits: the means to offer low cost, on demand and flexible mobility for every citizen, unlocking unproductive time and enabling economic engagement for everyone, increased road safety for everyone, materially lower pollution and congestion, and fewer resources wasted in manufacturing, assembling, parking and disposing of personal vehicles.
In 2015 the UK Department for Transport published The Pathway to Driverless Cars: A detailed review of regulations for automated vehicle technologies. The review found that driverless vehicles can be legally tested on public roads in the UK today, providing that a test (safety) driver is present and able to take responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle; and that the vehicle can be used in a manner compatible with road traffic law.
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A fully self-driving system is one that has been designed to operate without a human driver. This means that the system can perform the entire Dynamic Driving Task including (if needed) bringing the vehicle to a safe stop.
At FiveAI our self-driving system integrates our own self-driving software and hardware into a base vehicle. Using the SAE International definitions of driving automation, the self-driving system FiveAI is designing will initially operate at Level 4. This means that it is capable of performing the entire dynamic driving task under certain defined conditions, for example in specific geographic areas and weather conditions.
Over time, we will progress to offering a Level 5 system. A Level 5 system can perform all aspects of the dynamic driving task under all roadway and environmental conditions that can be managed by a human driver.
Self-driving vehicles are sometimes referred to as ‘driverless vehicles’ or ‘autonomous vehicles’. While commonly used, these descriptions are often used interchangeably to describe different degrees of self-driving capability, including systems that are not fully self-driving.
FiveAI’s activities comply with the Department for Transport’s Code of Practice for testing. This covers the data recording and cooperation with the relevant authorities in the event of an investigation.
FiveAI’s radar sensors are compliant with international regulatory requirements. FiveAI’s LiDAR sensors are categorised as class 1 laser products. Class 1 lasers are considered safe based on current medical knowledge. They cannot emit levels of optical radiation above the exposure limits for the eye under any exposure conditions inherent in their design.
Normally. If you see a self-driving vehicle, it will not always be possible to tell if it is being driven by a human or if it is operating in autonomous mode. Treat a self-driving vehicle with the same caution as a human driven vehicle. Do not assume that a self-driving vehicle will respond any differently to a human driven vehicle.
Possibly. FiveAI’s aim is to deliver a service which, when combined with public transport, is so attractive no-one feels they need to own their own vehicle. To do this, we will design our services to complement existing public transport (sometimes called mass transit) in cities, and reduce the use of private commuter cars. Decisions about potential streets and areas of operation will be taken in close consultation with local authorities, businesses and communities, and the services that FiveAI operates will evolve alongside the city’s public transport network. We’ll begin by demonstrating trial passenger services in London in late 2019 / early 2020.
FiveAI’s public road activities vary, but include capturing sensor data to support our testing in a virtual (computer simulated) environment, road evaluation, and autonomous tests performed on specific routes. We are currently operating a small number of vehicles autonomously on a select number of public roads in Bedfordshire. These operations involve FiveAI employees and others by invitation only. All roads are assessed for safety as part of a process that includes engagement with the police and local authorities. In addition, FiveAI reviews the current conditions (such as weather and lighting) before all activities to confirm that its self-driving system can be used safely. In line with the current legal requirements in the UK, all FiveAI’s vehicles are supervised by a safety driver while operating in autonomous mode.
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Please see our current openings at http://www.five.ai/careers/. No agencies please.
In line with the legal requirements in the UK, all FiveAI’s vehicles are supervised by a safety driver while operating in autonomous mode. The safety driver is responsible for taking and enacting decisions about safety if the system encounters a hazard which is outside its operational design domain. FiveAI’s safety drivers are trained and tested to ensure they are familiar with any limitations of the self-driving system. In time, FiveAI’s self-driving system will need to make its own decisions when faced with hazards on the road, and we will design our system to comply with any relevant regulations.
FiveAI does not publish data relating to testing or disengagements of its self-driving system. While the release of such information is mandatory in some locations outside the UK, it should be interpreted with caution since real world road testing will encounter only a tiny fraction of potential driving scenarios, and conditions can vary significantly between tests and testing organisations.
Some companies are building technologies that can perform specific functions under certain clearly-defined conditions, but which still require a human driver to be present and ready, willing and able to take back control of the vehicle if needed. These are not fully self-driving systems. They are sometimes referred to as ‘semi-autonomous’, ‘partial’ or ‘conditional’ automation, ‘Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)’, or SAE International ‘Level 2’ or ‘Level 3’ systems. Examples of these technologies include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping systems, and automatic parking.
FiveAI is building a self-driving system that can operate safely without any need for a human driver. Should one of FiveAI’s vehicles encounter an unanticipated scenario, our self-driving system is able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop with neither a requirement nor an expectation that a human driver will take over at any stage. However in line with the current legal requirements in the UK, for the time being, all FiveAI’s vehicles will be supervised by a human safety driver while operating in autonomous mode.
Initially, the conditions under which FiveAI’s self-driving system can operate safely will be limited to certain geographies, speeds, roads and road rules, weather and lighting conditions. Collectively, this set of conditions is referred to as the operational design domain (ODD). We design our system so that our vehicles do not operate outside their operational design domain. Our operational design domain will expand over time, eventually covering day to day driving in busy urban areas under a broad range of conditions.
FiveAI’s safety drivers are carefully selected to ensure that only people with sufficient driving experience and a good driving history can perform the role. All FiveAI safety drivers must pass a comprehensive, bespoke training programme before they are allowed to supervise FiveAI’s self-driving vehicles on public roads. The training includes extensive testing at FiveAI’s private test track. We review our safety drivers and training programme regularly to find ways to continuously improve the safety of our operations.
FiveAI is a privately owned company.
FiveAI will begin demonstrating trial passenger services in London in late 2019 / early 2020. We expect to establish a community of trial participants and more information about how to take part will be posted on our website, closer to time.
FiveAI’s full safety case contains proprietary, commercially sensitive information with respect to our self-driving system. We do not publish our full safety case but do work with the police and local authorities in locations where we plan to conduct activities on public roads. We are committed to further engagement with local communities prior to the start of our passenger services.
FiveAI’s activities are underwritten by Direct Line Group, the UK’s largest retail general insurer.