Why a retirement town became a test track for driverless cars

The race to get robotic vehicles operating freely on bustling streets may be won by a developer that drives the slowest cars, as one tech start-up turns to an unlikely testing ground to prepare automated cars for modern cities — retirement communities.

 Automated vehicles have long been seen as a crucial part of the cities of the future, offering the potential to rethink public transit and cut congestion.

However, the technology is in its early stages — regulators treat the industry with caution and testing on public roads is tightly controlled. Autonomous vehicles came under the spotlight in March 2018 when a woman died in a collision with an Uber self-driving car in the US as she crossed a road in Arizona. This prompted Uber and others in the sector to temporarily suspend testing, raising questions about the ability of robotic cars to handle real-life.

In an effort to accelerate the technology, US start-up Voyage Auto has secured a five-year licence to run its automated vehicles in retirement villages where speed limits are slower, road layouts are simple and drivers are generally cautious.


“In retirement communities everyone is driving like a grandma, and that’s how self-driving cars drive today,” says Oliver Cameron, chief executive of the Palo Alto-based start-up. “Retirement communities are the ideal place to start [the automated car] revolution. We are very much welcomed with open arms”.


In retirement communities, everyone is driving like a grandma; that’s how self-driving cars drive today


Spread over 32 square miles in Florida, The Villages is the largest US retirement community, housing 125,000 residents and connected by 750 miles of mostly private roads with low speed limits and few traffic lights. Florida’s climate avoids the problem of ice and snow, and thousands of retirees — many of whom have quit driving — need ride-hailing services. Typical trips are between home and the golf course or church, and regulations governing automated vehicles are less stringent on private roads.


“[In retirement communities] you have control over the operational design domain, you have low speeds, you have limited complexity, you have a consumer need for pick-up and drop-off activities, so you have an ideal location to launch a business while testing the technology,” says Michael Ramsey, senior research director, automotive and smart mobility, at Gartner.


As lifespans increase and populations age, experts say the market will grow. The US Census Bureau last year forecast the number of Americans aged over 65 would exceed those under 18 by 2035.


Voyage is operating its nine-strong fleet of automated vehicles — Chrysler Pacifica minivans and Ford Fusion hybrids — with a human “safety driver” to take control if required. The agreement covers a smaller version of The Villages in California’s San Jose. In return for exclusive rights to operate, Voyage has given the owners of The Villages a 0.5 per cent stake in the start-up.


This allows Voyage to hone its technology and business model. Rides are free for residents but in the future Voyage plans to charge, possibly through a monthly contract that includes a number of rides.


While bigger companies such as Uber and Cruise Automation, the self-driving division of General Motors, have raised billions of dollars with the goal of launching fleets of robo-taxis, Voyage’s model entails building the software that makes the car drive itself and integrating it with a commercial vehicle.


“We build the brain of the autonomous vehicle. We want to package up the brain and sell it as a service,” says Mr Cameron.


Voyage was founded in 2017 by four former employees of online education start-up Udacity. The start-up has raised $23.6m in two funding rounds, and is owned by its employees and venture capital groups including Khosla Ventures and Initialized Capital.


“The real question is: are there enough of these retirement communities available to make a difference?” says Mr Ramsey. “It’s a good place to try and make a business model work, but I am not sure it’s a great way to make that business model apply to everywhere else.”


Although testing in a controlled environment could speed the technology’s evolution, he says there is no replacement for real-life experience. Cruise tests its vehicles in downtown San Francisco. “They are challenging technology in a way that Voyage is not,” he says.


However, Mr Ramsey plays down suggestions that automated vehicles will dominate city roads in the near future. In fact, they may fit best in places such as The Villages.


“In the modern city, autonomy is going to nibble around the edges where economics work, where safety works, where complexity is limited. The examples are retirement communities, planned communities, campuses or even in cities with limited complexity routes between parking and offices,” Mr Ramsey says.


“All those things are much more likely to see automation than a fully autonomous fleet of cabs that can pick you up and take you anywhere you want.”



Source: Financial Times



Annection Privacy Policy


Welcome to the Ann Capital LLP's privacy policy.

Ann Capital LLP, trading as Annection, provides financial advisory services to cross-border transactions and investments (“our business”). Annection respects your privacy and is committed to protecting your personal data. This privacy policy will inform you as to how we look after your personal data when you visit our website (regardless of where you visit it from) and tell you about your privacy rights and how the law protects you.

Purpose of this privacy policy

This privacy policy aims to give you information on how Annection collects and processes your personal data through your use of this website, including any data you may provide through this website.

This website is not intended for children and we do not knowingly collect data relating to children.

It is important that you read this privacy policy together with any other privacy policy or fair processing policy we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal data about you so that you are fully aware of how and why we are using your data. This privacy policy supplements other notices and privacy policies and is not intended to override them.


Annection is the controller and responsible for your personal data (collectively referred to as "COMPANY", "we", "us" or "our" in this privacy policy).

You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues (www.ico.org.uk). We would, however, appreciate the chance to deal with your concerns before you approach the ICO so please contact us in the first instance.

Changes to the privacy policy and your duty to inform us of changes

We keep our privacy policy under regular review.

It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us.

Third-party links

This website may include links to third-party websites, plug-ins and applications. Clicking on those links or enabling those connections may allow third parties to collect or share data about you. We do not control these third-party websites and are not responsible for their privacy statements. When you leave our website, we encourage you to read the privacy policy of every website you visit.

1.               The data we collect about you

Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified. It does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data).

We may collect, use, store and transfer different kinds of personal data about you which we have grouped together as follows:

·       Identity Data includes first name, maiden name, last name, username or similar identifier, marital status, title, date of birth and gender.

·       Contact Data includes address, email address and telephone numbers.

·       Technical Data includes [internet protocol (IP) address, your login data, browser type and version, time zone setting and location, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform, and other technology on the devices you use to access this website].

·       Financial Information including account and transactional information and history Risk Data / Ratings.

·       Economic Crime related information (e.g. Financial Crime and Fraud Information).

·       Usage Data includes information about how you use our website, products and services.

We also collect, use and share Aggregated Data such as statistical or demographic data for any purpose. Aggregated Data could be derived from your personal data but is not considered personal data in law as this data will not directly or indirectly reveal your identity. For example, we may aggregate your Usage Data to calculate the percentage of users accessing a specific website feature. However, if we combine or connect Aggregated Data with your personal data so that it can directly or indirectly identify you, we treat the combined data as personal data which will be used in accordance with this privacy policy.

We do not collect any Special Categories of Personal Data about you (this includes details about your race or ethnicity, religious or philosophical beliefs, sex life, sexual orientation, political opinions, trade union membership, information about your health, and genetic and biometric data). Nor do we collect any information about criminal convictions and offences.

If you fail to provide personal data

Where we need to collect personal data by law, or under the terms of a contract we have with you, and you fail to provide that data when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have or are trying to enter into with you (for example, to provide you with goods or services). In this case, we may have to cancel a product or service you have with us but we will notify you if this is the case at the time.

2.               How is your personal data collected?

We use different methods to collect data from and about you including through:

·       Direct interactions. You may give us your Identity, Contact and Financial Data by filling in forms or by corresponding with us by post, phone, email or otherwise. This includes personal data you provide when you give us feedback or contact us.

·       Automated technologies or interactions. As you interact with our website, we will automatically collect Technical Data about your equipment, browsing actions and patterns. We collect this personal data by using cookies and other similar technologies.

·       Third parties or publicly available sources. We will receive personal data about you from various third parties.

3.               How we use your personal data

We will only use your personal data when the law allows us to. Most commonly, we will use your personal data in the following circumstances:

·       Where we need to perform the contract we are about to enter into or have entered into with you.

·       Where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests.

·       Where we need to comply with a legal obligation.

Generally, we do not rely on consent as a legal basis for processing your personal data although we will get your consent before sending third party direct marketing communications to you via email or text message. You have the right to withdraw consent to marketing at any time by contacting us.

Purposes for which we will use your personal data

We have set out below, in a table format, a description of all the ways we plan to use your personal data, and which of the legal bases we rely on to do so. We have also identified what our legitimate interests are where appropriate.

Note that we may process your personal data for more than one lawful ground depending on the specific purpose for which we are using your data. Please contact us if you need details about the specific legal ground we are relying on to process your personal data where more than one ground has been set out in the table below.


Lawful basis for   processing including basis of legitimate interest

To manage client   relationships; engage stakeholders

In order to   provide and ensure we offer the best service to you and relevant parties,   information can be used to manage relationships for the benefit of you and   relevant parties.

To process and deliver your order including:

(a) Manage payments, fees and charges

(b) Collect and recover money owed to us

(a) Performance of a contract with you

(b) Necessary for our legitimate interests (to recover   debts due to us)

To manage our relationship with you which will include:

(a) Notifying you about changes to our terms or privacy   policy

(b) Asking you to leave a review or take a survey

(a) Performance of a contract with you

(b) Necessary to comply with a legal obligation

(c) Necessary for our legitimate interests (to keep our   records updated and to study how customers use our products/services)

To administer and protect our business and this website   (including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, system maintenance,   support, reporting and hosting of data)  

(a) Necessary for our legitimate interests (for running   our business, provision of administration and IT services, network security,   to prevent fraud and in the context of a business reorganisation or group   restructuring exercise)

(b) Necessary to comply with a legal obligation

To deliver relevant website content and advertisements to   you and measure or understand the effectiveness of the advertising we serve   to you

Necessary for our legitimate interests (to study how   customers use our products/services, to develop them, to grow our business and   to inform our marketing strategy)

To use data analytics to improve our website,   products/services, marketing, customer relationships and experiences

Necessary for our legitimate interests (to define types of   customers for our products and services, to keep our website updated and   relevant, to develop our business and to inform our marketing strategy)

To make suggestions and recommendations to you about services   that may be of interest to you

Necessary for our legitimate interests (to develop our   products/services and grow our business)

To prevent and detect crime related to economic crime   including fraud and financial crime

This is within the public interest to carry this   processing out

Change of purpose

We will only use your personal data for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If you wish to get an explanation as to how the processing for the new purpose is compatible with the original purpose, please contact us.

If we need to use your personal data for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.

Please note that we may process your personal data without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules, where this is required or permitted by law.

4.               Disclosures of your personal data

We may share your personal data with the parties set out below for the purposes set out in the table above.

·       Internal Third Parties

·       External Third Parties

·       Third parties to whom we may choose to sell, transfer or merge parts of our business or our assets. Alternatively, we may seek to acquire other businesses or merge with them. If a change happens to our business, then the new owners may use your personal data in the same way as set out in this privacy policy.

We require all third parties to respect the security of your personal data and to treat it in accordance with the law. We do not allow our third-party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes and only permit them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.

5.               Data security

We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal data from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal data to those employees, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal data on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected personal data breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a breach where we are legally required to do so.

6.               Data retention

How long will you use my personal data for?

We will only retain your personal data for as long as reasonably necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, regulatory, tax, accounting or reporting requirements. We may retain your personal data for a longer period in the event of a complaint or if we reasonably believe there is a prospect of litigation in respect to our relationship with you.

To determine the appropriate retention period for personal data, we consider the amount, nature and sensitivity of the personal data, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal data, the purposes for which we process your personal data and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal, regulatory, tax, accounting or other requirements.