Autonomous vehicles to hit London streets this year

Published: 13 May 2016

► Driverless pod trials to start in London
► Project is part of an £8m scheme
► Sign up and you too can take part

Members of the public are being invited to sign up to as guinea pigs for the first trial of driverless cars, which will take part in Greenwich later this year.

Those lucky enough to be selected will be able to regularly take the electrically powered pod around the peninsula on a predetermined route. It’s yet to be decided where the route will go, but it is hoped that eventually users will be able to call the pod to come and pick them up.

The trials are part of the £8 million GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project, and those involved will have to give feedback on how the vehicle works, how it adapts to its environment and which routes are best.

The pod is very similar to those which follow tracks to and from Heathrow Terminal 5 Business Parking, except that it has been set free and uses GPS and an array of sensors to guide it and avoid crashing into things. Unlike the project currently underway in Milton Keynes, the pod will have no steering wheel, or trained driver to take over if it goes rogue…

Professor Nick Reed, Director at TRL and Technical Lead of the GATEway project said: “The move to automated vehicles is probably the most significant change in transport since the transition from horse drawn carriages to motorised vehicles. Testing these vehicles in a living environment takes the concept from fiction to reality.

“It gives the public a chance to experience what it’s like to ride in an automated vehicle and to make their own mind up as to how much they like it, trust it and could accept it as a service in the city.”

Find out more, or register your interest, here

By Steve Moody

Contributing editor, adventurer, ideas pitcher, failed grower-upper