Automotive PR: Royal Automobile Club Autonomous Vehicle Trial to take place in October, marking the opening of London Motor Week 2016

Pall Mall, London, 25 February 2016 – The Royal Automobile Club is proud to announce the world’s first Autonomous Vehicle Trial, to be hosted on Monday 31st October at the Club’s Woodcote Park estate to mark the opening of London Motor Week 2016.

Woodcote Park’s iconic “Captain’s Drive” will serve as the venue of the Autonomous Vehicle Trial.  A strictly non-competitive, safe and enclosed course over tarmac roads, the planned 1km route will feature city centre conditions, an ‘open road’ environment and challenges such as hill start and basic manoeuvres.  These features mirror those of the original Royal Automobile Club 1000 Mile Trial held over 20 days in 1900 – an event that proved to the British Public that the car represented the future of motoring.

Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club, Tom Purves, said: “This is all about the evolution of motoring – something the Club has a proud history of supporting. Probably the most significant development of automotive technologies in the next decade, the introduction of driverless and autonomous vehicles will require a combined effort and commitment from all areas of the motor industry.  It is in this spirit, and in line with the Club’s long established commitment to pioneering motoring, that we introduce the Autonomous Vehicle Trial.”

The Royal Automobile Club, with the support of its President, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, and Chairman, Tom Purves, is working with manufacturers and industry leaders across the international automotive sector to create this groundbreaking new initiative.

London Motor Week and the Regent Street Motor Show are organised annually by the Royal Automobile Club, as was the Future Car Challenge until 2012.  With the newly announced Autonomous Vehicle Trial and the continued evolution of London Motor Week, the Club is as committed to showcasing motoring innovations in 2016 as it was so effectively in 1900.


About The Royal Automobile Club:

The Royal Automobile Club was founded in 1897 and its distinguished history mirrors that of motoring itself. In 1907, the Club was awarded its Royal title by King Edward VII, sealing the Club’s status as Britain’s oldest and most influential motoring organisation.

The Club’s early years were focused on promoting the motor car and its place in society, which developed into motoring events such as the 1000 Mile Trial, first held in 1900. In 1905, the Club held the first Tourist Trophy, which remains the oldest continuously competed for motor sports event. The Club promoted the first pre-war and post-war Grands Prix at Brooklands in 1926 and Silverstone in 1948 respectively, whilst continuing to campaign for the rights of the motorist, including introducing the first driving licences.

Today, the Club continues to develop and support automobilism through representation on the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Motor Sport Association (MSA), and RAC Foundation while promoting its own motoring events including London Motor Week, which features the free-to-attend Regent Street Motor Show and the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

The Royal Automobile Club also awards a series of historic trophies and medals celebrating motoring achievements. These include the Segrave Trophy, the Tourist Trophy, the Simms Medal, the Dewar Trophy and the Torrens Trophy.

James Andrews


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