Public to test driverless vehicles developed through UK Government-funded scheme

Written by Sam Trendall on 6 March 2018 in News

Members of the public will have a chance to experience a driverless 'pod' in a trial in London

GATEway project driverless vehicle - Image credit: PA Images

Over the next four weeks, members of the public will have the chance to trial driverless vehicles developed by a UK Government-funded scheme. 

The tests mark the final stage of the GATEway project, which has seen transport companies Westfield Sportscars and Heathrow Enterprises work with tech firms Fusion Processing, Gobotix, and Oxbotica to build four autonomous ‘pods’.

The driverless pods have been travelling around the Greenwich area of London during an initial trial phase for the past five months. 

The vehicles have no steering wheels, and are designed to work even in the dark, which the project claims is a global first.

They are designed to use sensor devices and navigation software to safely avoid any obstacles.

More than 5,000 people have registered their interest in taking part in the final public trial.

Those registrants will have priority for booking a spot on one of a handful of journeys that the vehicles will be undertaking each day over the coming weeks.

Those who are not registered will still have the opportunity to take part during one of a number of drop-in sessions that will be taking place. 

The journeys, which will all be made with a safety steward on board, will take in a route of just over two miles around Greenwich.

Members of the public taking part will be asked for their feedback on the experience.

Richard Cuerden, academy director at TRL, said: “This project is enabling us to discover how potential users of automated vehicles respond to them, in a real-world environment, so that the anticipated benefits to mobility can be maximised.

“We see driverless vehicles as a practical solution to delivering safe, clean, accessible and affordable mobility and we are proud to be part of creating our future transport system.”

The £8m GATEway Project has been jointly funded by the UK Government and industry.

The project has also used research from the University of Greenwich, the Royal College of Art, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and Commonplace.

Money has been provided by the £100m Intelligent Mobility Fund, which is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles – a government agency jointly run by the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.




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