Monthly Archives

March 2018

Members of the public in the GATEway Pod

78% of Public Support Idea of Autonomous Vehicles

By News
  • Public hopes and fears for driverless vehicles revealed as world-leading study concludes
  • Over 31,000 people engaged during 3-year research programme
  • Public sampled automated vehicles in Greenwich, part of London’s future mobility ‘living lab’
  • Positive support for driverless vehicles, but safety concerns are key

Greenwich, London, 22 March 2018 – The team behind the ground-breaking GATEway Project today presented summary findings from its three year research programme. The first project of its kind to explore the public’s hopes, fears and attitudes towards autonomous vehicles, it invited them to be part of trials with prototype technologies. Early results from Commonplace’s sentiment mapping, a heat map capturing the public’s comments, indicates broad support (78%) for the idea of driverless vehicles on urban streets, provided they are safe and resistant to cyber attack.

The public were invited to test prototype vehicles and services through a number of research streams; simulation trials, observations of pedestrian behavioural interactions with driverless vehicles, automated grocery delivery trials and a public shuttle service which offered a hop-on hop-off service at the Greenwich Peninsula.

Over 31,000 members of the public engaged with the research, including an exhibition exploring future vehicles staged by the Royal College of Art at London’s Transport Museum. More than 5,000 people signed up to participate in the self-driving shuttle service trials, which were also open to residents and visitors to Greenwich. 1,300 members of the public were interviewed.

Leading the study was a unique consortium made up of industry experts, world-class academics and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Research was conducted by TRL, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory, the University of Greenwich, Commonplace and the Royal College of Art, exploring how we feel about using and sharing space with self-driving vehicles.

The research has helped advance the UK’s position in the automated vehicle revolution through partnerships with developers Westfield Sportscars, Fusion Processing, Heathrow, Gobotix and Oxbotica and a collaboration with Ocado Technology.

The University of Greenwich found that 43%, from a sample size of 925, felt positive towards the concept of driverless vehicles. 46% were undecided, citing key concerns about cyber security (44%), road safety (51%), other (5%). Only 11% of participants felt negatively towards these future forms of transport, a figure borne out by the results from Commonplace’s sentiment mapping. The research also found urbanites are happy to share transport for last mile journeys to and from transport hubs and that private car ownership was of lesser importance than ease of mobility.

The GATEway Project focused on people, rather than technology, and was ground-breaking in the way it invited the public to experience prototype technologies in a real world setting, complete with pedestrians, cyclists, rain and snow. This provided novel opportunities for researchers to gain insight into the challenges of implementing new forms of transport in complex real world environments.

Partners also included insurance company RSA and mobile communication provider O2 Telefonica who, as a result, are better able to understand the real-world requirements for connected and automated vehicles. DG Cities, an urban innovation agency spun out from the Royal Borough of Greenwich played a crucial role in implementing and integrating this new mobility service into an urban environment and has helped the consortium gain real world insights which are applicable to cities around the world.

Richard Cuerden, Academy Director, TRL, commented, “This is just the beginning of the journey towards connected and autonomous vehicles. Thanks to the GATEway Project’s research, the UK is in a prime position to build upon the lessons learned and experienced gained in trialling a whole range of driverless vehicles in urban environments.

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 GATEway Project paves the way for the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL), a world-leading £19m test bed to benchmark connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) in a complex and urban environment. Based in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and nearby Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, the SMLL will enable transport manufacturers and operators to develop new mobility solutions and rigorously test them in a wide variety of complex and dynamic city environments.

GATEway was jointly funded by government and industry. The government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility fund is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Jesse Norman Roads Minister

Government Visit GATEway to Announce Driving Law Review in Preparation for Self-Driving Vehicles

By News

6th March – today we were delighted to welcome Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Jesse Norman, and Law Commissioner QC Nicholas Paines, to the GATEway Project.

The Minister and Commissioner were welcomed by TRL’s Academy Director, Richard Cuerden, Trevor Dorling, MD of DG Cities and Kristen Fernandez-Medina, Senior Psychologist at TRL and the Technical Lead on the GATEway Project.

This is an exciting time to visit GATEway as the Project has just launched the final phase of the research trial and is currently operating a fleet of driverless pods at the Greenwich Peninsula as a shuttle service until the 29th March.

The Minister and Commissioner were able to experience the service first hand, being transported in the driverless pods, which allows participants to hop on and hop off at key locations along the Thames Path, starting at the InterContinental London – The O2 hotel.

The GATEway team provided the Minister with an update on the Project, highlighting the novel research being undertaken to understand public perceptions and attitudes to driverless vehicles, exploring the impact this technology might have on our cities of the future.

The visit coincided with a Ministerial announcement of the start of a three year review into driving laws in preparation for self-driving vehicles. The work, which will be undertaken for the Government by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission, will examine any legal obstacles to the widespread introduction of self-driving vehicles and highlight the need for regulatory reforms.

Areas which will be reviewed by the work include:

  • Who is the ‘driver’ or responsible person, as appropriate;
  • How to allocate civil and criminal responsibility where there is some shared control in a human-machine interface;
  • The role of automated vehicles within public transport networks and emerging platforms for on-demand passenger transport, car sharing and new business models providing mobility as a service;
  • Whether there is a need for new criminal offences to deal with novel types of conduct and interference ; and
  • What is the impact on other road users and how they can be protected from risk.

Richard Cuerden commented: “Speaking on behalf of the GATEway Consortium and TRL, we very much welcome the announcement made by the Minister today. The areas outlined above are all critical questions which need to be answered before we can realise the full potential of this technology.

With the expertise of our Consortium Partners, the GATEway Project has been undertaking evidence-based research into exactly these types of questions. It’s exciting to think that the research we are undertaking today, and the data we are evaluating will help to shape and inform potential changes to pertinent laws and regulations, designed to prevent future collisions and injuries on our roads, improve air quality and encourage healthy mobility, reduce congestion and increase accessibility to transport for everyone in our society.”

Fleet of GATEway Pods

Public invited to shape the future of driverless vehicles

By News

Greenwich, London, 28 February 2018– In a world first, members of the public are being invited to test a fleet of driverless pods as part of a major research project helping to shape a new kind of transport. Over the next four weeks visitors and residents at the Greenwich Peninsula will have the opportunity to engage with the new technology and share their experiences.

The trials mark the final phase of the GATEway Project, which is using a fleet of automated pods to understand public acceptance of, and attitudes towards, driverless vehicles. The research has helped advance the UK’s position in the autonomous vehicles revolution through collaborations with developers Westfield Sportscars, Fusion Processing, Gobotix and Oxbotica. What makes this study unique is its primary focus on people: – throughout the Project qualitative research has been conducted by TRL, the University of Greenwich, Commonplace (an online consultation platform) and the Royal College of Art, exploring how we feel about using and sharing space with self-driving vehicles.

Richard Cuerden, Academy Director, TRL, explains “As we explore the future of mobility solutions, it is essential that we consider the experience and benefits delivered to the consumer. This is why understanding and exploring the public perception of automated services has always been at the heart of the GATEway Project.

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.”

Over the past 5 months, the GATEway pods have generated considerable interest as they have travelled around the Greenwich Peninsula undertaking the first phases of the trial. Over 5,000 people have already registered their interest in taking part in the final phase of the trial and will have priority booking for one of several journeys undertaken each day.

Members of the public not registered will still have an opportunity to take part in this ground-breaking research, during a series of “drop in” sessions. Information about times and service availability will be shared online at or follow us on Twitter @GATEway_TRL.

In this phase of the GATEway Project, four driverless pods will be navigating a 3.4km route around the Greenwich Peninsula, using advanced sensors and state-of-the-art autonomy software to detect and avoid obstacles whilst carrying members of the public participating in the research study.

Developed by British companies Westfield Sportscars and Heathrow Enterprises, and controlled by a state-of-the-art automation system created by Fusion Processing, the pods have no steering wheels or typical driver controls. Instead, Fusion’s software, CAVstar®, combines GPS with radar (for long range) and LIDAR (for close range) to enable the pods to detect and safely negotiate objects in their path. This also allows the pods to operate in adverse weather conditions and even in the dark – a global first for this technology in the UK.

Although the GATEway vehicle is designed to operate without a human driver, a safety steward will remain on-board at all times, complying with the UK’s code of practice on autonomous vehicle testing.

GATEway is jointly funded by government and industry. The government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility fund is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.