About the project

What does GATEway stand for?

GATEway stands for Greenwich Automated Transport Environment.

What is the purpose of the GATEway project?

The purpose of the project is to understand how automated vehicles will fit into our future urban mobility needs and the barriers that need to be overcome before these vehicles become a reality on our roads. It’s not about developing new technologies, but improving our understanding of the public and industry perception and acceptance of automated vehicles.

We also want to create a safe and validated test bed environment in the UK, where other organisations and developers can bring their technology and test it against the results of our trials.

Where is the project taking place?

The project is taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab at Greenwich, London. Located in the heart of London, Greenwich is one of the UK’s leading smart cities and a global reference point for time and navigation.

Who is leading the project?

The GATEway project is led by world-renowned TRL, which has been working on the development of automated vehicles for more than fifty years. TRL is leading three of the six project work packages and providing support for the others.

Which organisations are part of GATEway and what are their roles??

Project partners include:

  • TRL: the project lead and research partner. TRL has been working on automated vehicles for more than 50 years.
  • 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.
  • DG Cities: is facilitating the Greenwich trials and local stakeholder engagement. It will also be 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.
  • RSA (Royal Sun Alliance): is working to understand how automated vehicles might disrupt the motor insurance market and will support the risk mitigation strategy.
  • Shell: is focused on understanding how automated vehicles will impact its existing business models.
  • O2: is focused on understanding the networking implications of automated vehicles and the impact they will have on its business and consumers connectivity needs.
  • The University of Greenwichis undertaking research to extend its world renowned pedestrian modelling capability to consider interactions with automated vehicles.
  • Imperial Collegeis considering the cybersecurity implications of the specific trials and wider implementation of connected, automated vehicles.
  • Royal College of Art: is drawing on its internationally recognised expertise in stakeholder engagement in relation to vehicle design to provide detailed insights into stakeholder attitudes to vehicle automation.
  • Commonplaceis providing innovative sentiment mapping techniques that analyse social media to measure users’ response to experience of automated vehicles. Residents and visitors to Greenwich Peninsula are invited to leave feedback of their experiences and observations of interacting with the driverless shuttles via an interactive map.
  • Gobotixis delivering the demonstrations of vehicle teleoperation and support to the automated vehicle trials.
  • Westfield Sportscars: is responsible for the procurement and build of the shuttle vehicles and overall systems integration.
  • Heathrow: is responsible for the design, testing and engineering of the GATEway shuttle vehicles and their control software.
  • Oxbotica: is developing the sensor technology and software to support the safe operation of the shuttle vehicles.

How is the GATEway project being funded?

The project is joint-funded by government and industry. It has received £5.5 million in funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) through Innovate UK and is supported by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), which is the UK government policy unit set up to drive the governments activity on connected and autonomous vehicles. This funding is supported by an additional £2.5 million from the commercial organisations within the GATEway consortium.

Are you working in conjunction with the other two UK trials taking place?

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.

All projects have been defined independently and are not dependent on one another to succeed. However, at the same time, we will all face similar challenges so we’re keen to collaborate where possible.

How does the GATEway project differ to the other two projects?

GATEway is the only project taking place in London – the UK’s only globally recognised megacity.  The location of the project in Greenwich (one of the UK’s leading smart cities) also means that it is intimately connected to a wide range of other transport modes in a dense, urban environment, which will facilitate understanding of how automated vehicles will integrate within a smart city environment. It is also the only UK project to include a focus on automated urban deliveries, giving unique insights into how automated vehicles might help address current and future logistical challenges safely.

About the trials

What trials will be undertaken as part of the GATEway project?

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: using automated vehicles for last mile transportation; potentially 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.

When will the GATEway trials take place?

Within the project there will be a mix of public and non-public trials. These trials are set to commence in 2016, with all trials expected to be completed by 2017

Where will trials take place?

All trials will take place in Greenwich, London with the prime focus for the live trials being on the Greenwich Peninsula. The precise location will be communicated to the local community in advance of trial days.

What vehicles will be involved in the trials?

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 Oxbotica.

Will the vehicles be operating on normal road in normal traffic?

Trials will take place within a designated shared environment alongside pedestrians and cyclists. They will not take place on normal roads with other vehicles.


How will the vehicles navigate?

All automated 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 environments and collect data from the same sets of sensors that used by the automated vehicles. Once a route is mapped, automated vehicles are capable of navigating autonomously within that environment, using a combination of sensors.

Will someone be there to take control if necessary?

Yes – as per the DfT’s code of practice for automated vehicle testing, all vehicles will have an operator who will be able to take control in the case of an emergency.

How will you ensure public safety?

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.

What about the risks from cyber-attacks?

All of our automated vehicles will be designed to prevent unlawful access whether that is physical or virtual. 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.

How can people register to take place in the trials?

Registration for the public trials is now closed. However you can still get involved in other elements of the project. Find out more on our “Get Involved” page.

How will I know if I have been successful?

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.

What will be done with the information from the trials?

All findings from the trials will be published and disseminated accordingly. The results will help:

  • Understand public acceptance and engagement with automated vehicles
  • Deliver a safe and validated test environment in the UK.
  • Determine how the international standards governing the testing and deployment of automated vehicles should be enacted.
  • Support the wider roll out of automated vehicle technology in all forms of surface transport.

What impact (if any) will these trials have on the local community?

All trials will be conducted safely, effectively and in carefully chosen locations to minimise any disruption to the local community.

Why are there new markings on Olympian Way?

In advance of GATEway shuttle trials, we have made some changes to Olympian Way, including new markings to show where the shuttles will operate during testing and trial periods.

During these periods, shuttle vehicles 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.

About automated vehicles

What is an automated vehicle?

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) 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 control 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.

Are automated vehicles safe?

Automated 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.

During the trials, TRL will be undertaking extensive safety testing and one of the trial outcomes will be the development of a testing methodology to allow the independent evaluation of automated vehicle safety for operation in shared pedestrian and cycle environments.

Why do we need automated vehicles?

Automated vehicles bring many benefits. Mobility is inherently linked to productivity and if we are moving our 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. If we can automate the driving task and try to remove that human error, we can get that huge number down.

Will driverless cars replace existing mass-transit systems?

We don’t see automated vehicles as a replacement for existing mass-transit systems, but as an additional mobility option for travellers, over and above those already in service.

Should an accident occur with an automated vehicle, how will we decide who is liable?

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.

Is it legal to put a driverless car on the road at the moment?

Yes. The DfT has recently developed a code of practice that governs the safe and effective research and testing of automated vehicles in the UK. The GATEway project will adhere to these guidelines.

Will automated vehicles lead to job losses?

Automated vehicles provide an additional mobility option for travellers, over and above those already in service. As a result, we anticipate that they will create new jobs related to service, maintenance and management of their operation.

Why is the government investing in this activity?

Connected and autonomous vehicles could play a significant role in a future transport system and unlock enormous social benefits at the same time. More information can be found here.