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

By 11th December 2017News

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.