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Members of the public in the GATEway Pod

78% of Public Support Idea of Autonomous Vehicles

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  • 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

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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

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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 https://gateway-project.org.uk 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.

Greenwich automated valet parking and self-drive trials go up a gear

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A specially-selected range of participants will be taking part in automated valet parking demonstrations in Greenwich this month, playing an important role in simulating real-world opportunities for connected and autonomous vehicles, and understanding the implications for our cities.

 The latest stage of the world-leading GATEway research programme, led by TRL and joint-funded by government and industry, is seeking to explore the use, perception and acceptance of automated valet parking in a complex urban environment. The Royal College of Art (RCA), Gobotix, DG Cities and TRL will collaborate on the trial, taking place at the Greenwich Peninsula, London, from 11th-15th December 2017.

Using a bespoke extension of the Gobotix remote driver assistance service app employed within a Toyota Prius, participants will get a unique insight and experience of automated valet parking and self-drive capability, as well as the opportunity to inform thinking on its future deployment in cities.

The trial, the first of its kind in the UK, will see participants drive the adapted vehicle around a predefined route at the Greenwich Peninsula, before employing autonomous functionality at the InterContinental Hotel to park and then summon the vehicle for a return journey.

Taking place in the Smart Mobility Living Lab: London, around 40 recruited members of the public will participate in workshops to explore and evaluate the opportunities and challenges for automated valet parking, including business travel, shopping and family leisure trips. Designed and facilitated by RCA, the workshops build on their internationally recognised expertise in design, research and stakeholder management in relation to vehicle design and people’s attitudes to vehicle automation, further complementing the novel work already produced within GATEway thus far.

Commenting on the programme, Richard Cuerden, director of the TRL Academy, said: “There have been some incredibly valuable outcomes from previous GATEway trials, which are already informing future development of autonomous technology. This latest phase allows us to develop additional insights into attitudes to automated valet parking technology, refining the experience and capturing public perception of last-mile autonomous solutions. We’re excited to see the results.”

The trial is one of several connected and autonomous use cases being explored within the GATEway research programme. Other trials include automated passenger shuttles, automated urban deliveries and high-fidelity simulator tests to investigate how drivers of regular vehicles respond and adapt their behaviour to the presence of automated vehicles on the roads.

The ongoing implementation of the GATEway programme supports TRL’s growing programme of innovation into future transport and mobility solutions, focused on (i) highly-automated, self-driving vehicles, (ii) intelligent, connected infrastructure and vehicles, (iii) low carbon technologies and electrification and (iv) shared mobility services. TRL, together with its partners, has an active portfolio of autonomous, connected, electric and shared mobility projects totalling in excess of £70m. These include MOVE_UK, Atlas, MERGE Greenwich, Driven, Streetwise, DRAGON and the UK’s HGV platooning trials.

Nigel Wall, Innovate UK, visits the GATEway Project

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The latest GATEway Board Meeting took place on Wednesday 25 October 2017 in preparation for on-site testing of our fleet of autonomous pods.

The Board Meeting provides an opportunity for the consortium members to review project progress and discuss opportunities on how to maximise the overvall value of the project.

During this month’s meeting the board were pleased to welcomed Nigel Wall, Innovate UK’s monitoring officer. Nigel was provided with an overall update on the project, the milestones which have been achieved to date and the preparations for the final phase of the project.

The visit also included an interactive experience of the new fleet of pods at the Greenwich Peninsular, with Nigel travelling in one of the new pods and seeing first hand how they react to their surroundings and how pedestrians and cyclists react to the pods.

This is one of the main objectives of the GATEway project, to understand perceptions and attitudes to driverless vehicles and to achieve this we are utilising a series of sentiment maps to collate and visualise the opinions people have shared on the potential impact of autonomous vehicles on their lives in North Greenwich.

As we prepare for the final phase of this project, you can already see our new automated pods arriving on the Greenwich Peninsula undergoing the final stages of testing before we open the trials to the public.

From December the fleet will be transporting hundreds of people around the Peninsula, displaying the potential for autonomous vehicles to connect important transport hubs, leisure sites and residential locations.

If you have travelled in a pod, experienced one as a pedestrian, or simply have a view on driverless vehicles that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. You can add a comment to the sentiment map via your computer or mobile phone. Simply visit: gateway.commonplace.is/comments.

To find out more about how you can get involved with the GATEway project follow us on Twitter @GATEway_TRL.

Transport Minister Visit

Transport Minister John Hayes visits GATEway at the Smart Mobility Living Lab : London

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We were delighted to welcome Transport Minister John Hayes to the Smart Mobility Living Lab : London (SMLL), home of the GATEway Project, in Mitre Passage recently.

The Minister was welcomed by TRL’s CEO Rob Wallis and Trevor Dorling, MD of DG Cities who showcased vehicles and technology from both GATEway and MOVE_UK – two of the current connected and autonomous vehicle projects (CAV) taking place in the Smart Mobility Living Lab: London, a real-world urban test bed.

The Minister was able to view one of the new GATEway driverless pods, which from December will be operating as an autonomous fleet around the Greenwich peninsula transporting members of the public between important transport hubs and points of interest.

This is the final phase of the GATEway project and this pubic trial is looking to engage with as many people as possible to understand their perceptions and attitudes to driverless vehicles and explore the impact this technology might have on our cities. You can find out more about how you can engage with these driverless pods by keeping an eye on this website or following us on Twitter @GATEway_TRL.

Whilst there the Minister also had a close look at a modified Jaguar Landrover, currently being used as part of the MOVE_UK project. Also based at the Smart Mobility Living Lab : London, MOVE_UK aims to collect data on real-world driving in order to further develop the validation of its advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and accelerate the arrival of self-driving cars on the UK’s streets.

Following the visit, the Second Reading of the Automotive and Electric (AEV) Bill took place in the House of Commons.

With the automotive industry set to be worth up to £50 billion to the UK economy by 2035, the AEV Bill will allow innovation to flourish and ensure the next wave of self-driving technology is invented, designed and operated safely in the UK.

The Bill will increase the access and availability of chargepoints for electric cars, requiring Motorway services and large petrol retailers to install them, while also enabling drivers of automated cars to be insured on UK roads.

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.

To find out more about how you can engage with the Smart Mobility Living Lab : London visit www.smartmobility.london

FSEG publish a new paper: Perceptions of autonomous vehicles: relationships with road users, risk, gender and age.

By News

This paper is part of the research being undertaken by FSEG of the University of Greenwich as part of the UK GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project. The GATEway project, an £8 million project funded by Innovate UK and Industry, is a technology driven project that aims to demonstrate the safe and efficient integration of sophisticated automated transport systems into complex real world smart city environments. The project is based in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in London.

The study described in this paper surveyed public perceptions of autonomous cars (AC), focusing particularly on the perceived risk of collision and injury for those travelling in them and those on foot, and on general attitudes towards these cars reflecting acceptance or objection to them being used on public roads.

The 20th century witnessed a revolution in passenger transport with the mass production of affordable cars allowing people to drive themselves freely from one location to another. However, the 21st century has witnessed a new revolution in road transport with the development of fully automated cars, which – by removing the need for a driver – are expected to reduce the number of collisions resulting from human driving error and improve road safety.

While some forms of autonomous vehicles (AV) have been in common usage in cities for a number of years, such as driverless trains and airport shuttles, these modes of transport run along enclosed routes and are therefore limited in terms of their movements and interactions with vehicles or people other than passengers.

In contrast, AC will be moving amongst other road users, thus their interactions with people will be, and may be perceived to be, more complex. Some surveys have been conducted in recent years on the public’s perception of AC, but have typically focused on people as passengers of such vehicles. Perceptions from an external point of view, e.g. as pedestrians in an area with AC, have received little attention to date. Likewise, there has been little attempt to compare perceptions of AC with perceptions of other, existing vehicles, including AV. The survey considers a comparison between AC and:

  • Conventional cars
  • Motor bikes
  • Bicycles
  • Conventional passenger trains
  • Autonomous passenger trains

This paper reports findings of a survey with participants resident in the UK investigating perceptions of AC, particularly with regards to road safety and acceptance. Perceptions are compared in relation to road users (i.e. pedestrians as well as occupants of both human-operated and AV), risk (taking and perception), and participant gender and age.

The study surveyed 916 participants on their perceptions, particularly with regards to safety and acceptance of AV. As males were over-represented and females under-represented in our sample, compared to the UK population, the data was weighted using the gender proportions from the national statistics population estimates. Following this weighting, participants were characterised as follows: Sample size = 916, Gender = 49% male, 51% female; Age range = 18–85 years, M = 40.91, SD = 12.93, Mdn = 39.00; 85% with a driving licence.

Overall, results revealed:

  • AC were perceived as a “somewhat low risk“ form of transport and, while concerns existed, there was little opposition to the prospect of their use on public roads.
  • However, compared to human-operated cars, AC were perceived differently depending on the road user perspective:
    • more risky when a passenger
    • less risky when a pedestrian.
  • AC were also perceived as more risky than existing autonomous trains.
  • Gender, age and risk-taking had varied relationships with the perceived risk of different vehicle types and general attitudes towards AC. For instance, males and younger adults displayed greater acceptance. The adoption of this autonomous technology would seem societally beneficial – due to these groups’ greater propensity for taking road user risks, behaviours linked with poorer road safety. However, an initial result from the unweighted data suggested caution: participants who were more likely to take road user risks were also more likely to have a negative attitude towards AC. This raises the question that, if given the choice, might risk-takers reject using these vehicles? However, when the data was weighted to enhance the sample’s representativeness of the UK population, this result was no longer statistically significant. Thus, further research is necessary to determine whether AC major selling point – safer driving – might prove to reduce their appeal to the very individuals whose use of them would most benefit other road users.
  • As members of the public will likely be both types of road user, and the safety of both is imperative, this raises significant questions over the design and promotion of AC: companies will have to find ways to appeal to the former road user group while continuing to appeal to the latter to achieve a satisfactory integration of these vehicles in urban environments.
  • When looking at the attitudes, either from the sample overall or across variables such as Gender and Driver Status, one thing was clear: participants who opposed AC were very much in the minority; 10% or less had a negative or conditionally negative attitude. Around four to five times more participants expressed acceptance (positive or conditionally positive attitude) of AC. This could be taken as an endorsement for autonomous cars. However, there was a sizeable number of participants (46% of the overall sample and between approximately two-fifths and a half of subgroups) yet to be convinced.
  • Despite the low negativity evident, concerns were expressed, encompassing more than just road safety-related issues. Concerns related to cybercrime, e.g. computer viruses and hacking, were also frequently expressed, underlining that this is not simply a challenge of improving transportation safety but improving systems more widely.
  • So these findings indicate that many people are currently receptive to the concept of AC but there is still work to be done. Moreover, the detection of significant relationships between perceived risk ratings or attitudes and various factors, including road user populations, gender and age, emphasise that perceptions towards AC are multi-faceted.

All comments welcome.

You can download the paper for free using the following link until November 29, 2017: https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1VscN3IVV9Z7Ht

The full citation for the paper is:

Hulse, L. M, Xie H., and Galea, E.R., Perceptions of autonomous vehicles: Relationships with road users, risk, gender and age, Safety Science, Volume 102, February 2018, Pages 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2017.10.001

You can find out more of FSEG’s role in the project from our website at: http://fseg.gre.ac.uk/fire/gateway.html

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Innovate UK, the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, and industry as part of GATEway – Greenwich Automated Transport Environment (project number 102200), a project comprising the following partners: Commonplace, Digital Greenwich, Fusion Processing, GOBOTiX, Heathrow Enterprises, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Royal College of Art, RSA, Shell, Telefonica, TRL, University of Greenwich and Westfield Sportscars.

GATEway Driverless Pod

The GATEway project announces the next phase of driverless pod trials

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The GATEway project is soon to launch its open public trial of driverless pods. These autonomous pods will provide first and last mile transportation around the Greenwich peninsula by connecting important transport hubs with business, leisure and residential locations.

The GATEway team is delighted to announce that for the next phase, commencing in the Autumn, Fusion Processing will provide sensing and control equipment on the brand new pods that are being built by Westfield Sportscars.  The pods are based on the  original Heathrow Airport platform pod design and have been updated for use in first and last mile transportation operational environments.

Simon Tong from TRL is the Technical Lead on the project and explains the new development, “GATEway has always been focused on exploring public perception and understanding of driverless vehicles. With Fusion joining the team, GATEway is in a unique position to let the public interact with three very different autonomous control systems during our urban trials. Each of our autonomy providers – Fusion Processing, Oxbotica and Gobotix – are great British success stories and together with Westfield they represent the diversity of driverless expertise in the UK.”

In April this year, the GATEway project provided over a hundred members of the public an opportunity to ride in the first prototype driverless pod in Greenwich powered by Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomous control system.

In the next phase of the project, using Fusion Processing’s autonomy system, the GATEway project intends to transport hundreds more people with a fleet of new Westfield pods based at the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Dr Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica said “It was an amazing opportunity for us to step into the GATEway project and deploy our Selenium autonomy system into the prototype pod and demonstrate it so successfully in research trials conducted by the Royal College of Art and TRL.  We wish Westfield and Fusion well as they take their product closer to a production phase”

Simon further states that, “This is a really exciting time for the project. We’re very grateful to Oxbotica for all they have contributed in helping us learn more about the complexities of operating a driverless pod in an urban environment. With Fusion we look to build on all we have learned for our fleet of new driverless pods so that GATEway can conclude with a trial that will engage as many people as possible and hopefully amaze them at the same time.”

This trial is one of a number of automated vehicle tests within the GATEway project investigating public acceptance of automated vehicles within the urban mobility landscape. Other trials in the project include last-mile automated deliveries (tested in June 2017) and autonomous valet parking (due to be tested later in 2017).

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.

UK First: Autonomous Grocery Delivery Trials in Greenwich

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The TRL-led GATEway Project together with Ocado Technology (a division of Ocado, the world’s largest online-only supermarket) has completed the UK’s first trials of an autonomous CargoPod vehicle around the Berkeley Homes, Royal Arsenal Riverside development in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The real world trials see a self-driving delivery vehicle, called CargoPod, operating in a residential environment, delivering grocery orders to over one hundred customers.

Taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab, the GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) is a world-leading research programme, led by TRL and funded by UK government and industry. It aims to demonstrate the use of autonomous vehicles for ‘last mile’ deliveries and mobility, seamlessly connecting existing distribution and transport hubs with residential and commercial areas using zero emission, low noise transport systems.

CargoPod, developed by Oxbotica as part of the GATEway Project, is guided by their state-of-the-art autonomy software system Selenium, which enables real-time, accurate navigation, planning and perception in dynamic environments. The pod is able to carry a total of 128kg of groceries at a time.

Uniquely, the focus of the study is both on the commercial opportunities of self-driving technology and how it functions alongside people in a residential environment. This, the third of four trials with the GATEway Project, is exploring the public’s perceptions and understanding of driverless delivery vehicles. Ocado Technology is using the trials to explore the logistics and practicalities of deploying self-driving vehicles as part of the last mile offering for the Ocado Smart Platform, an end-to-end solution for providing bricks and mortar grocery retailers around the world with a shortcut for moving online.

The research findings will also help guide the wider roll out of autonomous vehicles which, in the future, may play an important role in cutting inner city congestion and air pollution. The trial is run in partnership with ‘Digital Greenwich’, an initiative that has established Greenwich internationally as a flagship ‘smart city’, where new technologies are being developed and tested in real, complex urban environments. GATEway is one of several projects taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab at Greenwich – an open, real world, validated test environment for the evaluation of the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles.

The GATEway project is supported by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), a joint Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT) unit established to ensure the UK is at the forefront of testing and deploying connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

Supporting quotes from:

TRL: “The GATEway project is unique in that it considers the effect of automated vehicles on the movement of goods as well as the movement of people. This trial with Ocado Technology provides an ideal platform to help us understand how and where these vehicles could best operate and whether people would accept, trust and like them as an automated delivery service in the city. We envisage that cities could benefit massively if deliveries could be made by quiet, zero emission, automated vehicles when congestion is minimal.” Simon Tong, Principal Research Scientist (TRL) and technical lead for the GATEway project.

Business Minister Claire Perry said:

“The UK has a rich history in the automotive sector, and through our modern Industrial Strategy the country is on the verge of leading the world in self-driving technology and the industrial opportunities it brings.

“The GATEway project takes us another step closer to seeing self-driving vehicles on UK roads, and has the potential to reduce congestion in urban areas while reducing emissions. Backed by government, this project firmly establishes the UK as a global centre for developing self-driving innovation.”

Ocado Technology: “Ocado Technology is delighted to have worked in partnership with the GATEway Project to a complete a very successful grocery delivery trial using driverless vehicles. We are always looking to come up with unique, innovative solutions to the real-world challenge of delivering groceries in densely-populated urban environments. This project is part of the on-going journey to be at the edge of what is practical and offer our Ocado Smart Platform customers new and exciting solutions for last mile deliveries.”, David Sharp, Head of 10x department

Oxbotica: “Last mile delivery is a growing challenge as our cities become denser and more congested. In this new project we are working closely with Ocado Technology to deploy our Selenium autonomy system into a novel last-mile delivery application in Greenwich as a part of the GATEway project. This is truly a UK success story about CCAV and Innovate UK enabling a young British company to become established and to be able to demonstrate mature world-class technology capabilities within a real-life dense urban environment.”, Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica

Councillor Sizwe James, Cabinet Member for Transport, Economy and Smart Cities at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “The Royal Borough of Greenwich is one of the UK’s leaders in smart city innovation and we are proud to be working alongside our partners to be at the forefront in this new age of driverless technology. With Digital Greenwich spearheading this work forwards, we are gaining new insights into how connected and autonomous vehicles, including automated light delivery vehicles, will impact on the city and what cities need to do to capture the opportunities they can bring.”

 

Public research shaping the future of driverless vehicles

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Today the GATEway Project begins research into public acceptance of, and attitudes towards, driverless vehicles. The trials, which will see an autonomous vehicle driving in a complex urban environment, is not about robotising existing forms of transport, such as the car, but is examining ways to optimise mobility for the urban environment using new modes of transport enabled by automation.

In the latest phase of the GATEway Project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) a prototype shuttle will begin driverless navigation of a 2km 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.

The GATEway Project is a world-leading research programme, led by TRL and funded by government and industry. It aims to demonstrate the use of automated vehicles for ‘last mile’ mobility, seamlessly connecting existing transport hubs with residential and commercial areas using a zero emission, low noise transport system. Research findings from the project will guide the wider roll out of automated vehicle technology in all forms of surface transport, including cars, lorries and buses.

Uniquely, the focus of the study is not the technology but how it functions alongside people in a natural environment. This first trial will explore people’s pre-conceptions of driverless vehicles and barriers to acceptance through detailed interviews with participants before and after they ride in the shuttle.

Residents and visitors to the Peninsula are invited to leave feedback via an interactive map.

The project will not only see London and the UK emerge as a world leader in automated technology, but provide valuable sociological insight into what is expected to be the most profound change in mobility since the invention of the internal combustion engine.

The prototype shuttle, dubbed ‘Harry’ (in honour of navigation visionary John Harrison*), uses a state-of-the-art autonomy software system, called Selenium, which enables realtime, robust navigation, planning, and perception in dynamic environments.

Professor Nick Reed, Academy Director at TRL commented: “This research is another milestone in the UK’s journey towards driverless vehicles and a vital step towards delivering safer, cleaner and more effective transport in our cities.

“It is critical that the public are fully involved as these technologies become a reality. The GATEway Project is enabling us to discover how potential users of automated vehicles respond to them so that the anticipated benefits to mobility can be maximised. We see automated vehicles as a practical solution to delivering safe, clean, accessible and affordable last-mile mobility. I’m hugely proud of the work that has been undertaken in preparing for these tests and excited to move on to public testing.”

Developed by British companies Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises and Oxbotica**, the shuttle has no steering wheel or typical driver controls, ‘Harry’ is the UK’s first fully automated shuttle vehicle. Over an eight-hour period of operation, a single GATEway shuttle will collect a massive four terabytes of data – equivalent to 2,000 hours of film or 1.2 million photographs.

To navigate this complex real-world environment, the shuttle will use Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy software, which is a vehicle-agnostic, sensor-agnostic autonomy solution for a wide range of platforms (e.g., low-speed shuttles to high-speed road vehicles). The system uses onboard sensors, such as cameras and lasers, to locate itself in its map, perceive and track dynamic obstacles around it, and plan a safe obstacle-free trajectory to the goal. It does this without any reliance on GPS. High data-rate 3D laser range finders are used for obstacle detection and tracking, and an additional safety curtain is used for redundancy in order to maximise safety.

Whilst 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 automated vehicle testing.

The GATEway Project builds on more than fifty years of research into automated vehicles by TRL and operates within the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab at Greenwich. Fast emerging as a world-class test bed and real-world environment for the development and validation of new mobility solutions enabled by connected and automated vehicle technology, the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab in Greenwich is part of a long-term commitment led by TRL in partnership with Royal Borough of Greenwich to attract inward investment and create a compelling route to market for innovators.

The shuttle trial is one of a number of trials taking place as part of the GATEway Project to help understand the use, perception and acceptance of automated vehicles in the UK. Others trials include automated urban deliveries, remote teleoperation demonstrations, exploring how automated vehicle systems work for people with additional travel needs, and high-fidelity simulator tests to investigate how drivers of regular vehicles respond and adapt their behaviour to the presence of automated vehicles on the roads.

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.

*The prototype shuttle is known as ‘Harry’. It was named in honour of John Harrison – an engineer who developed timepieces that enabled accurate navigation at sea and for which Greenwich was the reference point. More information here.

**The GATEway shuttle vehicle has been developed by Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises and Oxbotica and is modelled on the Heathrow PODs. Westfield is the vehicle integrator and manufacturer of the vehicles. Heathrow Enterprises is responsible for vehicle software engineering and Oxbotica is responsible for the autonomy software which enables the safe operation of the vehicles.