A PIONEERING driverless car company has expanded into a new base in Oxford city centre.

Five AI has taken 2,600sq ft on the first floor of 59 St Aldate’s on a five-year lease, after moving from a nearby building.

The rapidly growing firm has occupied the final space at the 58, 59, 60 St Aldates development.

The building has recently been refurbished by owners Vantage Asset Management, ensuring the character and original features were retained, with modern facilities sympathetically installed.

Five AI was launched in 2016 by serial entrepreneur Stan Boland, and is currently testing its driverless car technology in London after receiving the single largest investment into an artificial intelligence business from the UK government.

The company, with a workforce of 120 people, operates across six UK locations including Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, London and now Oxford.

Five AI works closely with computer vision and artificial intelligence teams at the UK’s top universities, and the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s leading AI research centre, and will spend 10 months collecting information on the behaviour of road users to help inform the development of its technology.

The business model for Five AI is to offer a shared taxi service rather than providing driverless cars for consumers to buy. It aims to start offering a commercial service by 2022.

Vantage Property Limited Partnership purchased 58, 59, 60 St Aldates in August 2016 with Robert Thain, director of Vantage Asset Management, which is leading the project.

Mr Thain instructed VSL & Partners on commercial property matters, along with Architects Brimlow McSweeney and project managers Norman Rourke Pryme, in a combined effort to create and let contemporary office workspace to technology and innovation start-ups.

The project team had the challenging task of creating contemporary office accommodation attractive to the Oxford high-tech start-up market, while respecting the traditional exterior of the building.

A major refurbishment programme was rolled out starting with the existing 5,000sq ft of vacant accommodation, which was completed by June last year. The new look was created by stripping the accommodation back to the basics and fitting with new exposed air conditioning and bespoke LED lighting. At the same time a new services backbone for the building was installed.

The architectural and project team achieved the right mix for the building design, moving from the revived and improved façade into a new reception with a very modern feel, and then into fully refurbished offices with exposed services.

The mechanical and electrical engineering was designed to allow refurbishment as and when accommodation becomes available.

As a result, a modern Class A office space has been created.

Agents VSL & Partners said the result has meant high demand from existing and new tenants as dynamic businesses look to move into flexible, modern accommodation that meets the demands of modern working.

As well as creating engaging workspaces, occupiers can also benefit from easy access to Oxford’s thriving shops and cafes as well as the train station with easy links to London and the North.

The property refurbishment of three buildings totalling 32,796sq ft at St Aldate’s was completed this summer and is now fully let.

Duncan May, associate director at agents VSL, said: “This development is proof that creating ultra-modern office space with excellent facilities is the key to attracting the type of innovative, high-tech companies that are powering the local economy and Five AI is an excellent example of that.

“The team at Vantage Asset Management has not only helped revitalise the city centre by transforming a tired building, they have created an inspirational workspace which will help trail blaze future development in Oxford.

“In the last year, VSL has agreed lettings on eight suites totalling 11,322sq ft.

“These units have been let to Prime research, Oxford Computer Consultants, Exmile Solutions, Horus Security Consultancy Ltd and Five AI.”

Robert Thain, director at Vantage Asset Management, said: “Our investment in the refurbishment of St Aldate’s has resulted in us driving rents forward, which is now leading the way in the Oxford city centre office market.”

VSL & Partners provides a wide range of office, industrial and retail services to landlords and tenants.