British taxi firm Addison Lee and driverless car group Oxbotica have joined forces to take on ride-hailing rival Uber Technologies and offer self-driving taxis in London by 2021.
The two companies said on Monday that Oxbotica would start digital mapping more than 250,000 miles of public roads in and around London from next month, using its technology to create a thorough map.
The move will see Addison Lee compete with rival cab app Uber, which has an agreement in place with Toyota to develop an autonomous fleet.
Uber’s plan has already hit the headlines for the wrong reasons – in March one of its self-driving cars was involved in a fatal collision with a pedestrian in the United States.
Addison Lee said it would likely first offer shared minibus shuttles for use to get to work, educational institutions or to the airport.
Addison, which is owned by private equity group Carlyle, reported a £20.8mln annual loss in its most recent results to August last year.
It blamed investment on transforming "from a London private hire business to a global premium ground transport provider" for the disappointing performance.
Other companies including Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler and car supplier Bosch are also investing in the development of self-driving vehicles.