BP, Oxbotica trial autonomous vehicle for refinery operations

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Global oil and gas giant BP, in partnership with Oxbotica, has conducted an autonomous vehicle trial at its Lingen refinery in Germany.

Oxbotica, an Oxford University spin-out founded in 2014, provided the autonomous vehicle software for the trial. The company claims to have installed the software and integrated it with existing infrastructure within hours of arriving on site.

The trial, which is world-first in the energy sector, saw the autonomous vehicle travelling a distance of 180km.

The vehicle navigated the extensive and complex environment of the bp refinery, including busy junctions, narrow paths, railway crossings, and multiple terrains.

With the trial being successful, BP intends to deploy its first autonomous vehicle for monitoring operations at the refinery by the end of the year.

BP digital science and engineering SVP Morag Watson said: “Lingen has 30 km of roads. Intelligent technology like this helps us make the incremental but equally critical improvements to our operations, so we can continue to focus on delivering the energy the world needs in the way that it wants.

“I am looking forward to working with Oxbotica to explore how we can unlock the full potential of autonomy.”

Recently, BP has made $13m equity investment in Oxbotica, which has developed autonomous vehicle software for deployment across multiple industries.

The software is designed for installation into any vehicle and requires no external infrastructure such as GPS or third-party mapping.