GATEway stands for Greenwich Automated Transport Environment.
The purpose of the project is to understand how autonomous vehicles will fit into our future urban mobility and logistics needs and the societal, technical and legal barriers that need to be overcome before these vehicles can become a reality on our roads. It’s less about developing new technologies, and more on improving our understanding of the public and industry perception and acceptance of autonomous vehicles.
The project also creates a safe and validated test environment in the UK, where other organisations and developers are welcome to test and compare their own autonomous vehicle technology; establishing Greenwich, London and the UK as one of the world’s focal points for CAV testing and innovation.
The project is taking place in the Smart Mobility Living Lab : London in Greenwich. The Royal Borough of Greenwich offers a high profile, real-world complex urban environment, within London – the UK’s only megacity.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is a global reference point for time and navigation and is pursuing an ambitious smart city agenda to apply advanced technologies, improving services for its residents, visitors and businesses. The Borough is seeing rapid expansion which is creating pressure on services and infrastructure and the progressive Council is committed to smart city innovation and understanding how advances in technology and data analytics can be harnessed to support the Borough’s objectives.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich was selected following a bid to Innovate UK by the GATEway consortium to be a UK urban pilot for the testing of autonomous vehicles. Greenwich also hosts the Smart Mobility Living Lab : London, a real-world urban test bed for the demonstration and evaluation of technical and business solutions for the development of smart mobility solutions.
The GATEway Project is led by TRL (the Transport Research Laboratory), which has been working on the development of automated vehicles for more than 50 years.
In alphabetical order the Consortium Partners are:
- Commonplace: utilising their digital engagement platform to create sentiment maps showing the responses of riders, pedestrians and onlookers to the autonomous vehicles.
- DG Cities: looking at the interdependencies between connected and autonomous vehicles, the design of the built environment and smart mobility services and the role of cities in accelerating take-up.
- Fusion Processing: the Sensor and ACS Provider for the final phase of the trial, ensuring successful and safe vehicle operations.
- Gobotix: is delivering the demonstrations of Automated Valet Parking (AVP) and vehicle teleoperation and support to the automated vehicle trials.
- Heathrow: responsible for the initial design, testing and engineering of the GATEway shuttle vehicles and their control software.
- Imperial College: is considering the cybersecurity implications of the specific trials and wider implementation of connected, automated vehicles.
- O2/Telefonica: is focused on understanding the networking implications of automated vehicles and the impact they will have on its business and consumers’ connectivity needs.
- Royal College of Art: is drawing on its internationally recognised expertise in people-centred design and research to provide detailed insights into the public’s attitudes to vehicle automation.
- RSA: assessing how automated vehicles might disrupt the motor insurance market and how a future insurance policy might be underwritten.
- Shell: is focused on understanding how automated vehicles will impact its existing business models.
- The Royal Borough of Greenwich: the local authority and smart city partner, providing the venue for the trial and looking at the wider implications for city authorities.
- The University of Greenwich: providing expertise in pedestrian dynamics, safety and human behaviour to examine public perceptions of and interactions with automated vehicles.
- TRL: Lead organisation
- Westfield: is responsible for the procurement and build of the shuttles and overall systems integration.
- Oxbotica: developed CargoPod, its Selenium autonomy system and cloud-based Caesium scheduling system.
The project is joint-funded by government and industry. It has received £5.5 million in funding from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT) through Innovate UK. It is further supported by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), which is the UK government policy unit set up to drive the government’s activities on connected and autonomous vehicles. This funding is supported by an additional £2.5 million from the commercial organisations within the GATEway consortium.
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.
All three projects were defined independently and are not reliant on one another to succeed. However, all three projects face similar challenges so we are collaborating where possible.
Connected and autonomous vehicles will play a significant role in a future transport system and unlock enormous social benefits at the same time. If the UK can build on its leadership position in this area, we can maximise opportunities to exploit these technologies at home and abroad and attract further international investment, leading to growth in our economy and new jobs in an exciting field of technology.
About the research trials
The GATEway project will trial and validate 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.
Specific trials include
- Automated passenger shuttle trials: exploring the use of automated shuttle vehicles as a small scale transport service.
- Automated urban deliveries trials (completed): using automated vehicles for last mile transportation; for example from a local delivery depot to a residential neighbourhood.
- Remote teleoperation demonstrations: where a human operator is able to manoeuvre or recover a fully automated vehicle to a safe mode of operation.
- High-fidelity simulator trials: to investigate how drivers of regular vehicles respond and adapt their behaviour to the presence of automated vehicles on the roads.
Findings from the trials will continue to be published and disseminated on the GATEway Project website during the course of the trials and once the project has concluded.
The results will help us to understand public acceptance and engagement with automated vehicles and deliver a safe and validated test environment for other autonomous vehicle trials to use as a benchmark.
Results may also be used to help determine how national and international standards governing the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles should be developed.
All trials will be conducted safely, effectively and are taking place in carefully chosen locations that meet our trial requirements but also minimise disruption to the local community.
Engagement with local community is extremely important to the project and this is being led by DG Cities. Numerous public discussion sessions have already been held throughout the trials and DG Cities will be continuing with their engagement strategy during this final phase.
A range of different vehicles will be used within the project. This includes an autonomous-enabled Toyota provided by Gobotix, an automated delivery vehicle provided by Oxbotica and a fleet of fully electric, fully automated passenger shuttles provided by a consortium of Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises and Fusion.
Current Trial – Automated passenger shuttle trial
Vehicle trials with public participants will commence in February / March 2018. This will include a mix of technical trials and those with public passengers on-board.
Over 5000 members of the public have already registered to be part of the GATEway project trials. Participants are representative of the general population in terms of age, socio- economic background and personal circumstances.
Registration is now closed, however there will also be open sessions throughout the trial (‘hop on hop off’ services), which do not require registration. We will publicise these sessions throughout the trial on the website Homepage and on Twitter @Gateway_TRL.
Even if you don’t ride on a shuttle, but encounter them as a pedestrian or cyclist we are still interested in your thoughts and perceptions. You can post your experiences on our interactive map at https://www.gateway-project.org.uk/get-involved/
Registration is now closed; however, there will also be open sessions throughout the trial run as hop on hop off services, which do not require registration. We will publicise these sessions throughout the trial on the website Homepage and on Twitter @Gateway_TRL.
Trials will take place in a series of phases and specific details will be released to those registered prior to trial dates. Due to high volume of interest in the trials, participation is not guaranteed.
We can’t give too many details as we don’t want to influence the results of the shuttle trials. Participants will be invited to complete a questionnaire following their experience.
The wider public are also encouraged to get involved. Pedestrians and cyclists who encounter the shuttles are invited to post their experiences on an interactive map which is monitored by the GATEway team: https://www.gateway-project.org.uk/get-involved/
All trials will take place in Greenwich, London with the prime focus for the live trials being around the perimeter of the Greenwich Peninsula.
The pods will run in a designated lane, sharing space with pedestrians and cyclists along the riverside path. The pods will not be operating on public roads with other vehicles though may encounter maintenance vehicles using the route.
The shuttle trial will feature a fleet of four fully electric, fully automated pods, developed by a consortium comprising of Westfield Sportscars, Fusion and Heathrow Enterprises.
Yes – as per the Department for Transport’s code of practice for testing driverless vehicles, all shuttles will have an operator present at all times. They are not needed in order for the vehicle to navigate successfully but can intervene should that become necessary for any reason.
All of the vehicles being used in the GATEway programme will have been rigorously tested before being introduced into a public environment.
Trials will also be operated under strict safety controls and whilst vehicles are designed to operate without a human driver, there will be a safety steward on-board at all times to take control in case of an emergency.
As low as we can practicably make them. The pod’s sensors are constantly scanning the environment to identify obstacles so that the pod can slow down or stop safely if necessary. For the duration of the trials there will be an operator on board ready to stop the pod should the need arise.
Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult to comply with the GATEway Programme’s health and safety policy. The trial very much welcomes the thoughts and opinions of children; after all, they may be the generation to really benefit from autonomous vehicles.
In advance of the GATEway trials, we have made some changes to Olympian Way, including new markings to show where the pods will operate during testing and trial periods.
During these periods, pods will operate in a designated lane, alongside a separate shared pedestrian and cycle lane. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use Olympian Way throughout the trial period.
We are working with Imperial College London to ensure our automated vehicles are designed to prevent unlawful access, whether that is physical or virtual. The pod’s communications systems are protected by several cybersecurity measures to mitigate the risk of attack.
The trials will also provide a means by which cyber security issues may be better understood and help identify some easy to reach solutions for the near term.
The driverless pods are developed from the ones you may have seen at Heathrow Terminal 5, which provide an on demand direct shuttle service from the dedicated Pod Parking area to the Terminal. Westfield Sportscars has played a key role in the development of the pod.
Google’s self-driving cars and Tesla’s Autopilot systems are designed for personal transportation on public highways. The GATEway project pod is specifically designed to carry up to four passengers and to be accessible by wheelchairs and pushchairs as a service for the first or last mile of journeys using pedestrianised routes where it shares the space with pedestrians and cyclists rather than other cars. The driverless system is powered by Fusion’s ACS.
This will largely be dependent on the speed at which autonomous control systems are developed to safely operate in traffic. We estimate it will be 2-3 years before we see these deployed in controlled environments doing routine operations and on our roads, mixing with urban traffic in 5-10 years.
This is what the GATEway project seeks to identify. Some barriers will be societal and from the GATEway trials, we hope to understand more about how people interact with driverless vehicles as well as considering how urban spaces might need to adapt to make driverless technology more viable.
Other barriers will be technical and legal, and our research will also explore how logistics stakeholders and companies can benefit from self-driving vehicles so that they operate cleanly, safely and efficiently in urban environments.
Autonomous delivery vehicles provide an additional option for logistics companies, over and above those already in service. We anticipate that driverless vehicles will create new jobs related to service, maintenance and management of their operation.
On the GATEway project, all self-driving vehicles have a safety steward on board, who can take over and manually drive the vehicle should they foresee a situation becoming dangerous. In the longer term, drivers could be freed up to offer more customer-facing services both while travelling and also at the point of delivery, perhaps spending more time with customers rather than repeatedly parking and moving their vehicle down the road.
About autonomous vehicles
A vehicle which uses a range of advanced systems to automate some, or all, of the driving task. At present, there are fully automated vehicles that operate in segregated environments (e.g. the Docklands Light Railway or the Passenger Shuttles used at Heathrow Terminal 5) and there are road vehicles that have some degree of automation (e.g. adaptive cruise control; lane keeping assist).
In time we anticipate these technologies will evolve to create vehicles capable of operating with no driver input. There are many potential benefits to this including improved safety, efficiency and accessibility of transport, but research is required to establish the scale of these benefits.
Autonomous vehicles are expected to be much safer than conventional vehicles, which is one of the main reasons that the government is supporting their introduction. Human error is a factor in over 90% of deaths and injuries on our roads, so if we can automate the driving task and reduce the risk of human error, we can improve the safety of our roads. The driverless vehicles as part of the GATEway project are fitted with sensors enabling them to operate safely in a complex and dynamic environment.
Automated vehicles bring many benefits. Mobility is inherently linked to productivity and if we are able to move people, products and goods more efficiently, we can generate more economic benefit. That could be more jobs, more productive travel, or improved efficiency on the network by enabling vehicles to drive closer to achieve greater network capacity within the same available infrastructure.
Automated electric vehicles may also significantly reduce dependence on cars, especially in cities, leading to improved air quality and reduced noise. They can also support greater mobility for those who have difficulty driving such as the elderly and the disabled.
Finally, there is also the benefit of improved safety. 1.2 million people die on the roads around the world each year and in more than 90% of the cases, human error is a contributory factor. Automating the driving task and removing human error could significantly reduce that figure.
We don’t see automated vehicles as a replacement for existing mass-transit systems, but as an additional complementary mobility option for travellers, over and above those already in service. When planned as part of the transport network, automated vehicle services can help to connect underserved areas to existing mass-transit systems, helping to deliver smart cities of the future.
The trials will be carefully managed to mitigate the risks of any accidents occurring, with the speed and operation of the vehicles controlled to optimise safe operation. However, should an incident occur, all information and inputs collected by automated vehicles will be recorded and auditable.
So in theory, determining liability should be easier than it is today. By picking apart the feeds from the sensors we will be able to identify whether the software responded in the way it was meant to and identify what went wrong.
With input from the GATEway team, the DfT developed a code of practice that provides clear guidance for the safe and effective research and testing of driverless vehicles in the UK. The GATEway project adheres to these guidelines. Our pod trials are operating in pedestrianised zones rather than on the public highway.
Previous trials – Automated urban deliveries (CargoPod)
The Automated Urban Deliveries trial was designed 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.
Participants were offered one from a choice of three grocery gift bags. Once ordered, their gift bag was delivered via CargoPod – our autonomous delivery vehicle. They were given an allocated delivery slot just like any other online grocery order. After receiving their delivery, participants were invited to provide feedback on their satisfaction with the driverless delivery, their perceptions of safety and security, the likelihood of them using such a service in the future and their willingness to pay for it. We also sought their opinions on the benefits and challenges of driverless deliveries.
The real world trial saw CargoPod delivering grocery orders to over 100 customers.
This phase of the GATEway project is unique; demonstrating the very first road capable, multi-drop autonomous delivery service in the UK.
The CargoPod deliveries all took place in the Royal Arsenal Riverside development on private roads where traffic is relatively light.
CargoPod is an autonomous last-mile delivery vehicle. The base vehicle is a Garia Utility Vehicle, mounted with cameras and lasers to enable it to see and sense its environment, and Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy system, enabling it to navigate autonomously. The vehicle is electric, road legal and able to carry up to 128kg of groceries.
The GATEway project collaborated with Ocado Technology, a division of Ocado, the world’s largest online-only supermarket on this project. The concept was developed by Oxbotica, GATEway’s ASM Partner, by understanding how Ocado currently delivers its goods and making sure the system could provide a service which could be integrated easily with the current operation.
The back storage compartments of the vehicle are completely unique. CargoPod started from a base vehicle, a modified Garia Utility City vehicle, which has been upgraded for driverless operation. This included installing cameras, lasers, and the computer that runs Selenium, Oxbotica’s operating system, and which enables autonomy.
CargoPod uses Selenium, Oxbotica’s operating system, to know where it is, what’s around it, and what to do next. Over time, CargoPod learns from its environment, using cameras to recognise where it is, and lasers to detect obstacles around it. CargoPod is completely GPS free – meaning that it could work within a warehouse environment, something important for last-mile delivery.
CargoPod is sponsored and insured by XL Catlin, a global insurer/reinsurer. XL Catlin has partnered with Oxbotica to support the adoption of mobile autonomy and to examine potential impacts on risk management and insurance solutions.
Yes – CargoPod is fully road legal. This is essential as last-mile delivery vehicles need to be able to operate in real urban environments to deliver their goods to customers.
CargoPod can run a full day without charging. It takes about 1.5 hours to top-up the battery by 40%, and about 3 hours to reach full charge from zero.
Caesium is Oxbotica’s fleet management system, a cloud-based service that schedules and co-ordinates fleets of autonomous vehicles, and allows data exchange between the vehicles without human intervention.
Accessible via a webpage, Caesium provides information about the GATEway shuttle and CargoPod in Greenwich, London. From anywhere in the world, a Caesium operator can view information about the vehicle, such as what mode it’s in (manual or autonomous), its velocity and heading, the amount of battery remaining, and the temperature of key components. It also shows its next destination.
For the CargoPod trials, Caesium was used to show the details of the delivery for the current autonomous run: the current order reference and/or customer surname, destination of current order, and the ETA.
When the vehicle arrives at a delivery stop, the customer is able to press a button on the side of the vehicle and their secure, dedicated locker containing their delivery will open.
CargoPod can reach a maximum speed of 25mph. However, for the GATEway trials, it was restricted to 5mph because of the speed limits within the Royal Arsenal Riverside residential development.
CargoPod benefits from over 10,000 autonomous miles of driving and learning across a fleet of vehicles. The sensors are constantly scanning the environment to identify obstacles so that the vehicle can slow down or stop safely if necessary. There is always a trained safety driver in the front seat, complying with the DfT Code of Practice, who is able to take back control of the vehicle should they foresee a situation becoming too dangerous.
The main vehicle computers that run Selenium, and all the controllers are not connected to the internet. Caesium, which runs on a separate machine, does use an internet connection but that is firewalled.