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Project update: September 2016

By | Blog

As we enter a new month, we’re fast approaching the half way mark for the GATEway project which officially kicked off on the 1st October 2015. With interest in the project continuing to grow and the start of trials drawing closer, below are the key developments in the project over the past six months:

1. We opened trial registration
Back in May we opened the door for members of public to register take part in the GATEway project. Since then over 5,000 people have registered for a chance to take part which really demonstrates the enthusiasm and interest in automated vehicles. Some have already had a chance to get involved in different elements of the project, while others are waiting for a chance to ride on the vehicles in the trials, which are due to start late autumn 2016.

2. We started our public engagement activities
In June we kicked-off our pre-trial engagement activities; working with members of the public to learn more about what the public really think about the idea of driverless vehicles. Over the past few months we have hosted a number of workshops in Greenwich to delve deeper into people’s thoughts and feelings towards these next generation of vehicles. Led by the Royal College of Art, these workshops encompass a number of different sets of questions, scenarios and creative activities to enable us to gain an insight into people’s attitudes towards the use of automated vehicles and their operation in cities.

3. We began collecting research data
As well as qualitative data, we have started to collect quantitative information about the public’s perception of automated vehicles via online channels. The University of Greenwich has launched an online questionnaire to understand how people may interact with autonomous vehicles, whilst Commonplace has launched an online heatmap of Greenwich where people can post their comments on where they think driverless vehicles will or won’t work.

4. We started LIDAR mapping the Greenwich environment
To enable safe navigation, each of our GATEway vehicles will be pre-loaded with a detailed 3D ‘map’ of each test environment. These maps are created by human-driven vehicles that survey the test environment and collect data from the same sets of sensors that used by the automated vehicles. In preparation for the trials, Oxbotica’s survey vehicle has been navigating around Greenwich, mapping the environment in varying lighting and weather conditions. This process will continue up until the trials begin later this year. An example of one of the maps created from this process can be found here.

5. We demonstrated autonomous driving in Greenwich
In August we completed 100km of autonomous driving in Greenwich with Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy software. The milestone was completed during a visit from Stephen Mullighan MP, South Australian Transport and Infrastructure Minister as part of pre-trial preparation and was the first demonstration of fully autonomous driving in Greenwich.

6. We completed the first phase of development of our 3D model of Greenwich
One of the trials we’ll be conducting as part of the GATEway project will use TRL’s high fidelity DigiCar driving simulator to investigate how drivers of regular cars respond and adapt their behaviour to the presence of automated vehicles on the roads. To ensure the trials are representative of real-world driving, we have been working with Agility3 to develop a realistic 3D model of the Greenwich peninsula road environment, ready for participant trials late autumn this year. The first phase of this development was completed at the end of August and a sneak preview of the 3D model can be found here.

7. We started development and testing of our trial vehicles
Since the start of the project the team has been busy developing a next generation of fully autonomous and electric vehicles capable of navigating around Greenwich. This involves not only the design and build of the vehicles and the autonomous control software, but also an extensive period of safety testing ahead of official trials in Greenwich. The vehicles for the shuttle trial in Greenwich are being developed by Westfield Sportscars, Oxbotica and Heathrow Enterprises and are now entering the final stage of this process. At the same time, Gobotix have been successfully safety testing their adapted M1 vehicle for remote operation of an autonomous vehicle that has gone into ‘safe’ mode and needs to be moved to a safe position.

8. We completed the first ever wind tunnel test on an autonomous vehicle
As part of our safety testing, we successfully carried out the first ever wind tunnel test on an autonomous vehicle in the UK. The test, conducted by Westfield Sportscars and supported by the Niche Vehicle Network, sought to improve the aerodynamic efficiency and confirm safety of automated shuttles, ahead of our driverless shuttle trials.

And it doesn’t stop there; the next few months promise to be even busier. Members of the GATEway team will be at LCV from the 14th – 15th September along with a GATEway prototype vehicle. We’ll also be speaking at the Driverless Technology Conference in Milton Keynes on the 22nd November.

The GATEway team

World’s first autonomous vehicle wind tunnel test carried out in UK

By | News

The first ever wind tunnel test on an autonomous vehicle has been carried out in the UK. The test, conducted by Westfield Sportscars Ltd. and supported by the Niche Vehicle Network, sought to improve the aerodynamic efficiency and confirm safety of automated shuttles, ahead of driverless trials in London.

The wind tunnel test was carried out as part of the GATEway driverless car project taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The project, which is led by TRL (the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory), will see trials of fully electric and fully automated shuttles operating in Greenwich, with trials scheduled to commence in 2017.

The autonomous vehicle – a fully electric, driverless shuttle – was tested at three times its normal operating parameters, with the vehicle put through a series of tests, including door operation at different wind speeds and vehicle angles, airflow near battery compartments, air flow underneath the vehicle and also component and sensor wind tests. Data gathered from the tests has been used by Westfield Sportscars and the GATEway project team to improve aerodynamics for the shuttle vehicles and enable the vehicle to operate safely in a variety of different global environments and conditions.

The tests form an important part of the safety case for the shuttles, which are currently undergoing final development and safety testing by GATEway project partners. Results not only ensure the trials are conducted safely, but will inform the ongoing development and implementation of autonomous vehicles in the UK and globally.

Julian Turner, the CEO of Westfield Sportscars Ltd and Programme Director for the build of the GATEway shuttles commented: “The wind tunnel test marks a significant milestone in the path towards fully automated vehicles. Information from the tests will help ensure the vehicles, the environment and the conditions the shuttles will be operating in are safe. It also enables us to set a benchmark for aerodynamic development and validation testing, speeding up the delivery and approval of automated vehicles in the UK.”

Professor Nick Reed, Director at TRL and Technical Lead of the GATEway Project added: “The primary aim of the GATEway project is to understand how the public learn to trust and accept automated vehicles within urban environments. However, one of the biggest barriers to acceptance is safety. The wind tunnel test provides confirmation that the GATEway shuttle vehicles can operate safely in UK weather conditions and will prove critical in proving their roadworthiness for future operation on our roads.”

The GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) is an £8 million project, jointly funded by government and industry and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Led by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), which has over 50 years’ of experience in vehicle automation, the project will investigate public perception, reaction and engagement with a range of different types of automated vehicles.

The shuttle trial, one of a number of automated vehicle tests within the GATEway project, will investigate public acceptance of automated shuttle vehicles within the urban mobility landscape. Other trials set to take place in the project include automated delivery trials and remote teleoperation.

GATEway is one of three projects awarded by Innovate UK under its £10m competition entitled ‘Introducing driverless cars to UK roads’. The other two projects include UK Autodrive in Coventry and Milton Keynes, and Venturer in Bristol.

100km of autonomous driving completed in Greenwich

By | News

Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy software has successfully completed 100km of autonomous driving in Greenwich, ahead of GATEway driverless vehicle trials later this year.

The milestone was completed during a visit from Stephen Mullighan MP, South Australian Transport and Infrastructure Minister, to TRL’s UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich. The visit, which was arranged to enable the South Australian Minister to learn more about UK innovations in connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), saw Mr Mullighan and his supporting delegation welcomed to the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab by Rob Wallis, CEO of TRL, alongside representatives from the UK’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Living Lab partners Royal Borough of Greenwich, Oxbotica and Royal Sun Alliance.

The Minister was given presentations on several UK CAV projects, including GATEway, followed by a live demonstration of Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy software, which will be used in the GATEway vehicle trials in Greenwich starting later this year. The software successfully navigated a purpose built concept vehicle around the Greenwich Peninsula, with Mr Mullighan and his delegation given a chance to ride on the vehicle.

Selenium_GW website

Stephen Mullighan, Transport and Infrastructure Minister South Australia commented: “It was fantastic to see such a collection of very credible companies coming together in an open and creative, real-life way. It’s clear the UK is really opening up its markets for such innovative programmes of research and through initiatives like the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab, is encouraging a level of cross sector collaboration that is truly inspirational.”

Rob Wallis, CEO at TRL added “It’s great to see international enthusiasm for the driverless vehicle projects taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab. The fact that other countries are looking to the UK for guidance demonstrates the pivotal role the UK now plays in this innovative and globally disrupting marketplace.”

Based in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, London and supported by UK government, the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich helps organisations bring solutions to market faster by enabling them to be trialled and validated in a real-life environment. Vehicle manufacturers, OEMs and tech organisations like Oxbotica can use the ‘Living Lab’ to assist with research and development, concept testing and validation, launching new technology or services, and understanding how new technology is perceived in a real world environment.

For more information about the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab visit: www.uklivinglab.co.uk

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The vehicle shown in the video is a purpose built vehicle called Geni, commissioned by Oxbotica. It is not one of the GATEway vehicles that will be used in the GATEway shuttle trials, starting later this year.

 

GATEway 2030: Students share their vision for future driverless cars

By | News

Taking inspiration from the GATEway project, students from Ravensbourne University in Greenwich have showcased their visions of future driverless vehicles for a student design competition.

The competition, entitled “GATEway 2030: The Future with Driverless Cars” is part of an exciting collaboration between Ravensbourne, TRL and Royal Borough of GreenwichIt underlines a distinct move towards considerations of how autonomous transport will affect our day-to-day living, offering a chance to discuss how social space, as much as personal space, should inform designs for improved transportation.

Prof Nick Reed, Academy Director at TRL, describes the GATEway project as an opportunity for “testing how automated vehicles could improve mobility in urban centres around the world”. Of the competition, Reed says, “The work of the Ravensbourne students in response to the GATEway 2030 project was incredibly impressive, showing fantastic vision and innovative thinking using a range of media, including posters, videos and 3D printed designs, to show how transport needs might be met by automated vehicles in Greenwich in 2030. It will be fascinating to see how developments in the real world compare to their wonderful concepts.”

Jay Jordan’s winning project, the Transmission Fluid, proposes a driverless vehicle designed for multiple passengers. Inspired by the “School on Wheels” concept , a large, flexible architecture would respond to passengers’ preferences, with each segment taking on attributes of activity-led spaces; an office, a classroom, a playground, a gym – each space afforded a specific but easily changeable purpose. This is an ambitious proposal for the use of time in motion, where the getting from A to B could be more efficiently used to forge relationships, improve skills, increase knowledge, through work or play.

TransmissionFluid_small2

The winning project of GATEway 2030: Transmission Fluid by Jay Jordan

 

TRL’s recently established UK Smart Mobility Lab @ Greenwich is one of only a few to promote the study, development and integration of connected and automated vehicles in this context. Ravensbourne is committed to enriching its industry relationships and bringing creative excellence to industry sectors that can benefit from innovative practice of emerging designers. In turn this fulfils the institutional strategic aim to facilitate best practice in practice-based learning for students. GATEway 2030 is a good example of this, where the creative outcomes strongly complement the research delivered by the GATEway consortium. Since this ground-breaking research is happening right on Ravensbourne’s doorstep, bringing self-driving vehicles to our city far sooner than we might imagine, it will provide Ravensbourne students with ongoing opportunities and further collaborations to work with some of the most transformative innovations in technological history.

 

 

Registration opens for UK’s first public driverless vehicle trials

By | News

Members of the public can now register to take part in the UK’s first public driverless vehicle trials. The trials, which will take place in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, are part of the GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project – an £8million research project to investigate the use, perception and acceptance of autonomous vehicles in the UK.

Taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich and led by TRL, the trials will see fully electric automated vehicles navigating their way around Greenwich. Members of the public can now register for their chance to be involved in the trials, which seek to understand how a range of different user groups feel about the use of fully automated vehicles. Those chosen to be part of the trials will be given the chance to ride in a driverless vehicle and asked to provide their views about the experience. Some participants may also be invited to share their views in interviews before and after using a vehicle.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid commented:  “Making driverless cars a reality is going to revolutionise our roads and travel, making journeys safer, faster, and more environmentally-friendly. Very few countries can match our engineering excellence in the automotive sector or our record on innovative research, and this announcement shows we are already becoming one of the world’s leading centres for driverless cars technology.”

Professor Nick Reed, Director at TRL and Technical Lead of the GATEway project added: “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, like the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab, 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.”

In addition to physical vehicle trials, members of the public can also register to take part in workshops to help envision the future of driverless vehicles. The workshops, which will take place from June 2016, seek to better understand people’s attitudes towards the use of automated vehicles and their operation in cities. Participants will be encouraged to discuss and debate the topic as well as participate in creative activities with designers and researchers from GATEway partner, the Royal College of Art.

Those with experience or knowledge of Greenwich are also encouraged to share their views on driverless vehicles via a web-based sentiment mapping tool. The site, developed and managed by GATEway partner Commonplace, provides members of the public with a chance to provide feedback on how driverless vehicles might impact life in and around Greenwich. Contributors are able to revisit the site as many times as they like, adding as many comments as they wish, whenever they choose throughout the duration of the project.

“The aim of the site is to give those familiar with the Greenwich area a chance to provide input on where and how driverless vehicles could work in and around Greenwich. It’s about putting local people right at the centre of exciting transformation and giving them a chance to influence decision making in this area,” commented Mike Saunders, Co-Founder of Commonplace.

The GATEway project is an £8million project jointly funded by Innovate UK and industry. Led by TRL, which has over 50 years’ of experience in vehicle automation, the project will investigate public perception, reaction and engagement with a range of different types of automated vehicles.

GATEway is one of three projects awarded by Innovate UK under its competition entitled ‘Introducing driverless cars to UK roads’. The other two projects are UK Autodrive in Coventry and Milton Keynes, and Venturer in Bristol.

To get involved in the online discussion visit: https://gateway.commonplace.is/comment

For more information or to register your interest in participating in workshops or trials visit: http://gateway-project.org.uk/get-involved/. Since numbers are limited, participation cannot be guaranteed.

TRL selects Agility3 to develop model of Greenwich Peninsula as part of innovative GATEway project

By | News

TRL (the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory) has chosen to work alongside Agility3 as part of its high-profile GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project – an £8million research project to investigate the use, perception and acceptance of autonomous vehicles in the UK.

One of three projects awarded by Innovate UK under its ‘Introducing driverless cars to UK roads’ competition, the GATEway project seeks to understand and overcome the technical, legal and societal challenges of implementing automated vehicles in an urban environment.  Led by TRL, the project will investigate a number of different use cases for automated vehicles, using trials of fully automated vehicles; full mission, high fidelity driving simulator tests, and demonstrations of remote vehicle operation.

To support the simulation element of the project, Agility3 will be drawing on its extensive 3D modelling and simulation experience and expertise to develop a 3D virtual environment of the Greenwich Peninsula. This model will be used within TRL’s full mission, high fidelity driving simulator, DigiCar, to investigate driver behaviour in the presence of automated vehicles.

The 3D model will provide users with a realistic experience of driving a car on the Greenwich Peninsula, with everything from road layouts, to flowerbeds, to bridges and London landmarks accurately reproduced in detail within the virtual environment. The model, which is due for completion in September 2016, will play an integral role in helping researchers understand how drivers will react and respond to driverless vehicles in real life road scenarios.

Professor Nick Reed, Academy Director for TRL said “The GATEway project is about understanding how the public learn to trust and accept automated vehicles within an urban environment. As part of the project, we’ll be using our high fidelity driving simulator to investigate how drivers of regular cars respond and adapt their behaviour to the presence of automated vehicles on the roads.

“In order to ensure these trials are successful, it’s vital that we use a realistic 3D model of the Greenwich peninsula road environment to ensure participants feel truly immersed in the simulated driving task. We’ve entrusted the creation of this model to Agility 3 due to the company’s high quality of work, speed of delivery and the cost effectiveness of its solution.”

Welcome to the GATEway project

By | Blog

It’s been quite a journey since the launch of the GATEway project back in February 2015 – one of three driverless car projects announced under Innovate UK’s £10m competition entitled Introducing driverless cars to UK roads.

Hosted in Greenwich, the home of the GATEway project, the launch event saw the world’s press come together to learn more about the three projects and see first-hand what a future filled with automated vehicles, might look like.

The fanfare accompanying the launch heralded the arrival of the UK as a major player at the vanguard of automated vehicle development. In fact, the Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Greenwich even suggested that the event garnered more attention for the Borough than the 2012 Olympic Games, demonstrating the sheer volume of interest surrounding automated vehicles.  So where are we now and what has been happening on the GATEway project since the launch?

Over the past 12 months we’ve seen significant steps by the government to position the UK at the forefront of development in this area. The initial launch event was used as a platform for the Department of Transport to publish a comprehensive document reviewing the UK regulatory position on the testing of automated vehicle technologies, providing clear guidance to those looking to develop and test automated vehicles. This was followed by the official publication of the DfT’s code of  practice for the testing of automated vehicle technology in July, and the formation of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, a new joint policy unit to coordinate government policy on driverless cars and related technology.

With the green light given for the testing of automated vehicles in the UK, the GATEway project officially kicked off in October 2015.

As part of the project, we will be trialling and validating a series of different use cases for automated vehicles. This will involve live trials of highly and fully automated vehicles; full mission, high fidelity driving simulator tests; and demonstrations of remote vehicle operation – the first of which is due to start in late 2016.

In order to ensure that these trials run effectively and safely, over the past 6 months we’ve been working hard to lay the necessary foundations for the trials to ensure they are optimally developed and delivered and all risks understood and mitigated. One of the first key project milestones was to secure the automated vehicles that would enable us to deliver trials and in January 2016 we announced that a consortium comprising Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises and University of Oxford spinout, Oxbotica, would deliver the shuttle vehicles for our first trial.

Following the announcement, the GATEway team has been relentlessly running through the checklist of tasks necessary for the operation of driverless shuttles in a public space. This includes:

  • Negotiations with landowners and stakeholders to secure the trial route;
  • Developing the shuttle vehicles from their current form to fully autonomous electric shuttles;
  • Running 3D mapping exercises around Greenwich to help assess and plan the different routes and create a reference point for the shuttle vehicles to use for navigation and;
  • Undertaking a thorough review to ensure potential risks are satisfactorily mitigated.

We have also held our first official GATEway project advisory group meeting. Hosted at the House of Lords and chaired by Lord Borwick of Hawkshead, the meeting brought together the GATEway consortium and representatives from across the transport sector to discuss the development of the project, as well as genuinely useful and exciting insights into how automated vehicles could revolutionise transport in urban environments.

Despite the huge progress that has been made since contract award, we are under no illusions about the enormity of the tasks that remain to deliver the GATEway project. However, the consortium remains very positive and highly motivated to deliver these fascinating automated vehicle trials over the next 12 months. Further details about the project and trials at the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich will be revealed over the following months, but one thing’s for certain – it’s going to be a fun and exhilarating ride!

Professor Nick Reed
Academy Directory at TRL and GATEway Technical Lead

Nick joined the Human Factors and Simulation group at TRL in January 2004 following post-doctoral work in visual perception at the University of Oxford. He has led a wide variety of studies using the full mission, high fidelity car and truck simulators with a number of published articles, conference papers, and appearances in national and international media. Nick also championed work in the area of vehicle automation at TRL, culminating in his technical leadership of the GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project – a flagship UK Government project to investigate the implications of the introduction of automated vehicles in the urban environment.

In addition to the GATEway project, Nick’s role now is as the TRL Academy director with responsibility for ensuring the technical quality of TRL’s research outputs, for supporting the academic development of TRL staff and for managing TRL’s engagement with stakeholders in industry and academia on programmes of collaborative research.

GATEway shuttle receives warm reception at Amber Rudd’s Rail & Road Summit

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Arriving straight from development workshops, the future of clean, green, ground breaking and economic road transport was revealed today in Hastings with the revolutionary GATEway driverless shuttle – a four wheel passenger pod, electrically powered and guided.

 

The first prototype of this revolutionary vehicle was unveiled at Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd’s Rail and Road Summit, attended by 200 delegates at Sussex Coast College and shown to Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport.

The shuttles, which can accommodate up to 6 passengers, are being manufactured for the GATEway project by Westfield Sportscars, supported by Oxbotica and Heathrow Enterprises, using entirely British engineering and software capabilities. The trials will aim to demonstrate the use of automated vehicles for what is termed last-mile mobility – seamlessly connecting residential locations, commercial areas and transport hubs by a zero emission, low noise, on-demand transport system. Research findings from the project could support the wider roll out of automated vehicle technology in all forms of surface transport, including cars, lorries and buses.

 

Amber Rudd MP commented: “It’s great to see new technologies being embraced, encouraged and promoted through innovative projects like GATEway, which are at the forefront of technical advance. British engineers are showing the way in this vital research to speed people transit with every aspect of green technology and low carbon footprint exploited to the full.”

 

Professor Nick Reed, Academy Director at TRL and GATEway Technical Lead comments: “The trials we will be conducting as part of the GATEway project will contribute to a radical and positive transformation in mobility for cities, both in the UK and globally. We want the public to be fully engaged with us on this exciting journey, so it’s great to be able to demonstrate one of the shuttles at the Road and Rail Summit here in Hastings.”

 

The GATEway project is an £8 million project jointly funded by Innovate UK and industry. Led by TRL, which has over 50 years’ of experience in vehicle automation, the project will investigate public perception, reaction and engagement with a range of different types of automated vehicles.  The shuttle trial, which is one of several automated vehicle tests within the GATEway project, will investigate public acceptance of automated shuttle vehicles within the urban mobility landscape.

Heathrow shuttles “take-off” from Terminal 5

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Airport’s “Ultra POD” technology joins TRL-led GATEway driverless car pilot in Greenwich

Three British companies are working in collaboration to develop new iconic automated pods for public trials this summer. Using entirely British engineering and software capabilities, Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises and Oxbotica will develop pods capable of operating fully autonomously and safely on the streets of London, as part of the GATEway driverless car project taking place in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

The three companies, who have joined the GATEway project as consortium members, will be working together to develop the existing Ultra PODS currently in service at Heathrow Airport. Operating at Terminal 5 for nearly five years, these pods have already carried 1.5m passengers and completed 3m kilometres of fully automated operation. Led by Westfield Sportcars, these pods will now be adapted to navigate the streets of Greenwich without the need for dedicated tracks.

The addition of the new consortium members brings a wealth of expertise to the GATEway project. Westfield will act as the vehicle integrator and manufacturer of the pods, responsible for the design and testing of the vehicles and ensuring that, where possible, they are manufactured in accordance with the current type approval requirements. Heathrow Enterprises will be responsible for vehicle software engineering, while Oxbotica will be deploying its vertically integrated autonomy solution, which includes mapping, localisation, perception and trajectory planning, to enable the safe operation of fully driverless shuttles in Greenwich.  It will also implement an innovative cloud-based shuttle management system, enabling the shuttles to operate as part of a synchronised, self-governing ecosystem, complete with smartphone booking applications, monitoring and reporting.

Professor Nick Reed, Academy Director at TRL and Technical Director for GATEway commented; “The addition of three prominent and respected British organisations to the GATEway consortium further strengthens the UK’s position as a leader in autonomous technologies. Each company brings a great deal of experience to the project which will prove valuable in helping us to understand how the public and industry will adapt to the use of automated vehicles in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab test environment in Greenwich. If the trials prove successful, we expect these iconic vehicles to become a familiar sight in many cities around the world.”

Julian Turner, CEO at Westfield Sportscars added: “We’re really pleased to be a part of the GATEway consortium and are looking forward to bringing our innovative, lightweight, technology to a well-known and tried and tested platform. As well as a 100% British supply chain, we can bring a number of benefits to the GATEway project, including knowledge of type approval processes and advanced pure electric race and road car technology that will not only ensure the shuttle trials are a success, but  help put Greenwich and the UK at the forefront of automated mobility”.

Steve Chambers, Director of Engineering and Asset Management at Heathrow said: “The GATEway project is a fantastic opportunity to build upon the Heathrow POD concept, our unique zero-emission transport system between Terminal 5 and business car park, which has already removed 70,000 bus journeys a year from Heathrow roads and the equivalent of 100 tonnes of CO2 a year.”

GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) is an £8 million project jointly funded by Innovate UK and industry. Led by TRL, which has over 50 years’ of experience in vehicle automation, the project will investigate public perception, reaction and engagement with a range of different types of automated vehicles.

The shuttle trial, which is one of a number of automated vehicle tests within the GATEway Project, will investigate public acceptance of automated shuttle vehicles within the urban mobility landscape. Other trials set to take place in the project will focus on automated urban deliveries.

First trials of driverless vehicles get underway in Royal Borough of Greenwich

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Government ministers will today launch the start of driverless car trials in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment project) is one of three projects chosen by the Government to deliver demonstrations of automated vehicles in urban environments.  The trial officially gets underway at Greenwich Peninsula today, with Business Secretary Vince Cable and Transport Minister Claire Perry in attendance.

The GATEway project includes the testing of a fully driverless vehicle, which will be evaluated in various scenarios over the next two years. This morning (Wednesday 11 Feb) it will take its inaugural journey at Greenwich Peninsula.

The GATEway project will test a number of important factors involved with using automated vehicles with the aim of putting the UK at the forefront of developing this type of transport technology.

Over the next two years the GATEway project will:

• Demonstrate automated transport systems in a range of environments
• Explore the legal and technical changes required to introduce automated vehicles
• Explore the reactions of both pedestrians, drivers and other road users to automated vehicles

The GATEway project is made up of a consortium of companies, led by TRL along with key partners including the Royal Borough of Greenwich, which is the location for the trials. Other key consortium members include RSA, the global insurer, who will be looking at how automated vehicles might impact the motor insurance market, Shell and Telefonica who will be learning how the technology might impact their sectors and the University of Greenwich who will be researching how people might interact with driverless vehicles.

Project lead Dr Nick Reed said: “The innovative GATEway project will help place the UK at the forefront of the rapidly emerging sector of research and development related to automated vehicles. Through the strengths of the consortium and the project location within Greenwich – at the heart of the UK’s only globally recognised megacity, we can start addressing the technical, societal and legal barriers to automated vehicles and create a world class, technology-agnostic testing environment to help deliver the future of urban mobility.”

Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich said:” It’s thrilling to see these trials get underway in Greenwich, really cementing the area’s reputation as a place of innovation and investment. Greenwich Peninsula provides the ideal location for us to explore what this technology can offer people and how it will eventually be implemented in the real world. We’re proud here in Greenwich to be at the forefront of developing this technology. We offer the ideal setting for these trials; an expanding population, a complex urban environment and a variety of existing and expanding transport links – which will really tell us what we need to know about putting driverless vehicles into an urban setting”.

Transport Minister Claire Perry said:

“Driverless cars are the future. I want the UK to be open-minded and embrace a technology that could transform our roads and open up a brand new route for global investment.

“The breadth of public and private sector involvement in the GATEway project is testament to the potential of driverless cars and how much we stand to gain from testing them further. I want to thank the Greenwich team for all the work they have done so far and I will be watching the trials with interest.”