Over the next three weeks members of the public will participate in the first extended trial of driverless technology in Greenwich.
The trial will see a prototype driverless shuttle navigate a 2km route around the Greenwich Peninsula at speeds of up to 10mph, using advanced sensors and software to detect and avoid obstacles, while carrying members of the public.
While the vehicle will be controlled by a computer, a ‘safety steward’ will be on board at all times to comply with the UK’s code of practice on automated vehicle testing.
Cllr Denise Hyland, leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, described the trial as ‘incredibly exciting’ adding that it will help the borough understand how it needs to adapt to capitalise on the opportunities that could lay ahead as a result of autonomous technology.
The focus of the study is not the technology itself, but how it functions alongside people in a natural environment. The trial will explore people’s preconceptions of driverless vehicles and barriers to acceptance, through detailed interviews with participants before and after they ride in the shuttle. Residents and visitors to Greenwich are also invited to leave feedback via an interactive map.
Launched in 2016, the GATEway Project is a research programme, led by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and funded by government and industry. It aims to demonstrate the use of automated vehicles for ‘last mile’ mobility, connecting existing transport hubs with residential and commercial areas using a zero emission, low noise transport system.
Cllr Denise Hyland said: “Driverless cars are the technology of the future and the GATEway project will help the automotive industry and the public gain a much clearer insight and understanding in how this tech can work for them, and for future generations.
“It is also helping Royal Greenwich to understand the opportunities and implications for the borough and how we need to adapt to capitalise on those opportunities.
“I am immensely proud that Greenwich is hosting this trial, which further consolidates the Royal Borough’s position as a living lab for smart mobility in the heart of the Capital, and a leader in smart city innovation.
“The start of public trials is incredibly exciting and I do hope that the public and Greenwich residents who take part in the trials enjoy this unique experience and help us to look at how we can address some of the problems that modern cities face in terms of personal transport use and how we can help accelerate the deployment of these future-cars, capturing the benefits for the UK, London and Greenwich.”
05 April 2017