Over the course of the project, we conducted a number of different trials to understand how people respond to, engage with and accept automated vehicles, as well as exploring the potential impact this technology could have on our cities.

Learn more about the project and see how it progressed through our blogs and news posts.

The Security of Driverless Cars

By Blog

The opportunities that driverless vehicles present are undoubtedly profound. None more so than the emergence of multi-modal transport services (trains, planes, automobiles … and boats) that will intelligently cooperate to take us from A to B without any human intervention. Replacing the old biological controllers — namely us — the autonomous vehicle will excel in everything from energy efficiency to just being safe. The technology of today already affords us a near-term vision of the car where:

  • route planning and optimisation
  • refuelling and recharging
  • transactions with services (tolls , shops , parking lots)
  • authentication and hand-shaking for the purpose of site access control

are all automatically achieved by the vehicle, without the human ‘in-the-loop’. Removing the human from all of these piloting activities in concert, including that of physically manoeuvring the vehicle, will prove to be the real transformation in experience that autonomy will bring to car users.

The main outstanding technical piece needed to achieve this — the driving bit — is a problem that is rapidly being cracked by some of the largest and smartest companies in the world. Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence and deep-learning technology is poised not merely to deliver our replacement, but a significant upgrade. A ‘driver’ that will be better at learning, anticipation and adaption and one that will work tirelessly, around the clock. Driver 1.0 looks set, almost inevitably, for extinction. But, don’t worry if you’re feeling somehow obsolete, all of this will leave us with far more time to get on with the more important things in life like texting and motorway Tinder and will eliminate that potent source of stress, road rage — although there are no promises about the more general problem of rage on the road. However, let’s leave the debate as to whether or not this transport paradigm-shift represents a psychological step forward for the road user for another day and settle for the fact that it certainly will be a technical leap-forward on how we go about the business of moving about.

Considering the comprehensive nature of the transformation we’re talking about, it is not unreasonable to ask if a re-think on what it means for a car to be secure and safe is motivated. Ironically, when we do pose the question, rather than the longer-term prospects of some kind of dystopian robo-world emerging, understanding how to be secure against humans emerges as the more pressing concern. For whatever motivation — and there are plenty to choose from — humans are the most likely to seek the means and methods for compromising the whole operation; either by delivering costly nuisance cyber-hacks or by engineering complex orchestrated attacks that result in large scale economic hits or even the loss of life. Tragic incidents in urban settings around the world such as the most recent in Barcelona, illustrate how the car, even in its current form, may be used to generate terror and fear with global resonance and impact.

Paradoxically, the driverless car simultaneously represents an opportunity for virtually eliminating such incidents and the means by which their impacts could be greatly amplified. Both of these outcomes will be made possible by the unprecedented interconnectivity the car of the future will possess, where participation in a massive and distributed network of things including other cars, buildings, IoT devices, knowledge repositories and databases will provide access to huge computing power and a physical reach far beyond the individual car. Which outcome becomes reality rests on how well considered the design of this entire car-system will be to security problems and whether security will be ‘designed in’ from the start.

The argument that security is not the primary purpose of the car or that security incidents are generally not that likely to occur is a rationale that risks this aspect of the system’s design being given far less attention than it deserves. We might consider such arguments as rooted in the simplistic view of what we understand the car to be today rather than the reality of what it is about to become. It would be liberating and perhaps more in keeping with the technical revolution to consider the very concept of a car to be a fading reality, being replaced by a completely new mode of transport that bears only a superficial resemblance to the automobile. It may look like a car, move like a car, but in all other aspects it will not be one.

The Gateway project

Within the Gateway project — one of the UK’s autonomous vehicles urban demonstrators — we have been considering what security for driverless cars should look like in the near, medium and longer-terms. In the near-term we have examined the more practical aspects of securing vehicles that are being rapidly developed in the market by viewing our trial vehicles as moving cyber-physical systems: the driverless car is far more than just a moving piece of office IT. In the medium-term, problems such as ensuring that vehicles can trust connections to things around them with a digital pulse, including other cars, remains an open but tractable problem. Detecting security issues during the operation of such systems, countering problems in real-time and the legal ramifications of failure are all things that will keep our community and our wider networks working for some time to come.

Author: Dr Deeph Chana, Deputy Director, Institute for Security Science and Technology, Imperial College London

This is an opinion piece authored by Dr Deeph Chana.

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

By News

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.

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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.

Majority of human drivers don’t bully autonomous vehicles

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Human drivers do not yet know enough about autonomous vehicles to take advantage of them, according to new research from TRL, the global centre of innovation in transport and mobility.

The study, conducted by TRL as part of the GATEway driverless car project in Greenwich, investigated how human drivers might adapt their behaviour in the presence of autonomous vehicles. Results indicated that the majority of drivers did not change their driving behaviour and continued to make decisions about overtaking or pulling out into traffic based on gap size assessments and judgements of safety.

Commenting on the results, Professor Nick Reed, Academy Director, TRL explains: “What we have found suggests that people find it hard to recognise automated vehicles and/or don’t yet understand how automated vehicles behave. In terms of their driving behaviour, they therefore treat them as they would any other vehicle. It is possible that this could change as exposure to autonomous vehicles increases but more evidence is needed to substantiate this.”

The trial, which took place in TRL’s DigiCarⁱ driving simulator, sought to explore how human drivers will respond to automated vehicles in an urban environment. Participants completed a series of short simulator driving scenarios within a 3D virtual replica of the Greenwich Peninsula, developed by modelling and simulation specialists, Agility3ⁱⁱ. These scenarios included overtaking and junction driving tasks, with the recognisability and proportion of automated vehicles in traffic varied to represent the transitional phase between a fully and partially automated vehicle fleet.

Overall findings suggest driver behaviour would remain largely unchanged in the presence of autonomous vehicles, however tentative evidence was found that some drivers may adapt their driving behaviour as autonomous vehicles become more prevalent. For example, drivers were found to pull into smaller gaps between vehicles at junctions when there are more automated vehicles in the traffic, but drivers did not necessarily intercept automated vehicles more readily than human driven vehicles.

Professor Reed continues: “A small number of participants did pull out into smaller gaps when there were more automated vehicles in the traffic. This could be due to an increase in confidence about pulling out in front of an automated vehicle, with some participants citing this as a reason. We would be interested in understanding why these drivers took this approach and how these behaviours evolve over time.”

“As automation becomes more prominent in vehicles, we are likely to see a mixed fleet of non-automated, partially automated, highly automated and (eventually) fully automated vehicles for many years to come. Through that transition period, human drivers and other road users will be encountering autonomous vehicles in increasing numbers. The way in which human driven and automated vehicles interact will have major impacts on traffic flow dynamics and road safety. Understanding how these vehicles will coexist as we move through this transition phase will be critical for infrastructure planning and road safety,” concludes Professor Reed.

This exploratory study was conducted as part of the GATEway project, a world-leading two-year research programme, led by TRL and jointly funded by government and industry. It is one of a number of trials taking place as part of the project, with others including trials of automated passenger shuttles and automated urban deliveries which are set to take place in the UK Smart Mobility Lab in the Royal Borough of Greenwich later this year. Further details can be found at www.gatewayproject.wpengine.com

The full report can be downloaded here.

 

Empowering people through technology

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We believe that the Internet of Things is fundamentally going to change the way we live, work and play and automated vehicles will significantly disrupt and change the way we interact and engage with our transport systems. Cars are becoming computers on wheels and like any mobile computing device we need to make sure we transmit data in the most efficient and secure manner. Although having all vehicles fully automated is still some time away, we are seeing an ever increasing requirement for cameras and sensors within vehicles to be connected and we believe that communications and connectivity is critical to the success of autonomous vehicles.

Within the GATEway project we are looking at the role teleoperation will provide to improve mobility through connected transportation, empowering people to stay independent. Using a customised pre-configured version of the O2 CWAN digital IoT solution, we have tested an enterprise grade managed solution for remotely operating and recovering a Toyota Prius, an autonomous vehicle, safely and securely to demonstrate basic autonomy. As part of the design the system includes end-to-end encryption.

Through the GATEway project we want to understand how, through the right communication, we can improve the safety, passenger experience and engagement with these vehicles.

If we go further and consider an application on a smart phone instructing the car to self-park or to return to a given location, this too will depend on connectivity. This opens the door to a whole range of communications opportunities, but also creates disruptive business models and challenges that we need to better understand.

Ultimately it’s about the implications of the technology on society. We want to understand how automated vehicles will fit into our future urban mobility needs and the barriers that need to be overcome before these vehicles can become a reality on our roads. Also, when we can connect automated vehicles into a wider smart city environment, we can bring benefits of the efficiency, safety and reliability into our wider transport systems

It’s exciting for us as a technology company and we’re delighted to be part of the future and support UK Plc. Read more about our teleoperation work here.

Vinnett Taylor,

Head of IOT Specialists, O2

GATEway demonstrates how teleoperation and autonomy can improve mobility for disabled drivers

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The UK’s first demonstration of a teleoperated autonomous vehicle service for people with reduced mobility has been successfully completed as part of the GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment), led by TRL.

Taking place at the InterContinental Hotel in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and completed using an autonomous-enabled Toyota Prius, the demonstration marked the end of a fortnight of testing in which GATEway partners Gobotix and O2 were able to successfully demonstrate remote operation of an unmanned vehicle.

The demonstration aimed to show how near-market technology could benefit disabled and older drivers with limited mobility.  Using proof of concept technology developed by Gobotix, a wheelchair user drove himself to his final destination before disembarking. The driver then enlisted the support of a remote operator to park his vehicle using 3G and 4G cellular technology from telecommunications provider, O2. For specific situations when cellular coverage would not be possible, e.g. underground car park, the user can also control the vehicle using an app on their own tablet device to manoeuvre or park it from a short distance using in-car Wi-Fi.

Automated vehicle technology has the potential to enhance mobility for people with additional travel needs, including those who are older or have disabilities.  But with  fully automated, all-weather vehicles not expected to operate on UK roads for a number of years, Gobotix is focusing on what can be done now to drive more immediate benefits.

“Everybody is waiting for the arrival of fully automated vehicles, but there’s a lot that vehicle manufacturers can be doing already with existing technology to help improve accessibility and mobility for older and disabled drivers, ” said Dr Ben Davis, Technical Director, Gobotix.

“Many modern cars can be adapted so that they are driveable by a remote pilot and what we’ve demonstrated as part of GATEway is proof of that.  By offering a remote teleoperation service, we can remove common concerns around boarding and alighting. It’s about empowering those with reduced mobility to retain independence through the use of technology. ”

Toby Veall, Disability Consultant and full time wheelchair user following a spinal cord injury, who took part in the demonstration commented: “It’s very difficult for able-bodied people to fully understand the challenges facing disabled drivers. One of the main problems is finding suitable parking, which ideally is a disabled space but is not always possible.

“Other challenges include cars parking too close preventing access to the driver’s door, uneven surfaces like gravel or grass and hazards such as steep curbs, slopes and cambers. The use of a simple app to remotely park the car would be warmly welcomed by myself and many others with mobility problems and help to remove parking anxieties and improve independence.”

The technology is the product of more than two years’ work from experts at Gobotix and works on many vehicles which have increasingly common electronic controls and sensors. Using forward facing sensors, the software interprets images and communicates with the vehicle’s systems to enable remote operation by a computer or smartphone. Connectivity is provided by a machine-to-machine sim that is able to tap into any network and works on 3G and 4G, while the video feed on the vehicle is used to facilitate obstacle detection and adjust speed accordingly.

The system is the first of its kind solution for remote teleoperation and, unlike most autonomous technologies, will enable cars to be driven semi-autonomously in areas that have not been mapped.

It also enables remote recovery of fully automated vehicles should something go wrong, such as software faults or sensor breakdowns. Using the technology a human operator can intervene to remotely navigate vehicles back to a safe location or state of operation.

Dr Davis concludes:  “In the future, it is anticipated that the technology could be applied to fleets of fully automated vehicles, which could be controlled and operated from a remote control centre when necessary. With further investment, it might also prove useful for local authorities or transport planners looking to improve utilisation and efficiency of car parking in cities. We could make buildings and cities even more accessible beyond just having dedicated disabled spaces.”

Commenting on the success of the pilot, Billy D’Arcy Managing Director, Enterprise & Public Sector Business O2 said: “O2 continues to focus on putting customer experience and satisfaction at the heart of everything we do when offering mobile products and services, all to help make customers’ lives easier. The GATEway project is a perfect example of this and we’re pleased to be supporting it by providing connectivity and counsel for the pilot. What we’ve shown at Greenwich is how connecting key services via the O2 network and an app on mobile devices, can offer huge mobility benefits to many.”

The demonstration is one of a number of trials taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab as part of the GATEway project. 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 GATEway project is a world-leading two-year research programme, led by TRL and jointly funded by government and industry. It builds on fifty years of research into automated vehicles by TRL and aims to investigate the use, perception and acceptance of automated vehicles for ‘last mile’ mobility.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

The autonomous system in the Toyota Prius has been developed by Gobotix as a prototype platform for research and development and can operate in both manual and autonomous mode.

Project update: December 2016

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As 2016 draws to a close, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide an update on where we are with the GATEway project.

It has been a busy final few months of the year for the project, which aims to understand and overcome the technical, legal and societal challenges of implementing automated vehicles in an urban environment. Whilst the project largely revolves around the public trials of automated vehicles in Greenwich, we must not forget this is a research project focused not on developing vehicles, but the societal implications of this new technology.

Over the past few months we completed the first phase of the public engagement element of this research, looking at people’s hopes, fears and expectations of driverless vehicles. We invited people from a variety of backgrounds to engage in discussions and help us better understand public attitudes towards this next generation of vehicles. In total, we hosted eight workshops with over a hundred participants, producing thousands of hopes and fears about the future and more than 30 new driverless vehicle concepts. Insight in to some of the top level findings can be found here and a full report will be released once all phases have been completed.

Part of this package of work also included gathering feedback on the idea of driverless vehicles in Greenwich from those that live, work and visit the area. We have had over 500 contributions so far, with 78% of people viewing automated vehicles as a very positive opportunity for Greenwich. If you wish to add your comments, then you can do so here.

We also completed our teleoperation demonstrations, as well as simulator trials to investigate how drivers of regular cars respond and adapt their behaviour in the presence of automated vehicles.  The team of experts at TRL are now working their way through the data collected to analyse the results which will be disseminated accordingly in the New Year.

Those in Greenwich may also have noticed the inclusion of some unfamiliar road markings around the Greenwich Peninsula.  The markings, which will remain in place until the end of the project, were added in preparation of the arrival of ‘Harry’ – our prototype automated vehicle. Harry arrived in Greenwich in November 2016 to begin a final period of onsite validation and testing ahead of public trials. You may have already spotted him running around autonomously in Greenwich; this is part of our final regime of safety evaluation and public trials will only commence once this has been completed. We’ll be providing more information in due course.

Our progress in Greenwich didn’t go unnoticed by government and industry. The team at the Royal College of Art picked up an award for the quality and significance of their GATEway paper submitted to the Universal Design Conference 2016 held in Nagoya Japan. And in November, I gave evidence on behalf of the GATEway Project in the House of Lords inquiry into driverless vehicles, which can be viewed online here. Following the evidence session, members of the Committee also visited the project in Greenwich to see the progress we have made and engaged with a number of different elements of the project, including TRL’s portable driving simulator, MiniDigiSim, Oxbotica’s Geni vehicle and ‘Harry’. A positive and successful end to an exciting year.

Thank you to everyone that has taken part in any of our research activities to-date and for those that are eagerly waiting for the start of the public trials, we thank you for your patience.

Professor Nick Reed

 Academy Director, TRL

Nick is Academy Director at TRL, where he is with responsible 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.

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.

House of Lords Committee visits GATEway

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Members of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee today visited the GATEway Project in the Royal Borough of Greenwich as part of its ongoing inquiry into driverless vehicles.

The Committee have been exploring the potential uses and benefits of autonomous vehicles and the transition path needed for the co-existence of autonomous and conventional road vehicles. They have heard evidence from government officials, academics and industry experts on how driverless vehicles will fit into the wider transport strategy, whilst also exploring the socio-economic aspects in the deployment of self-driving cars.

 Taking place at InterContinental London – The O2 in Greenwich, members had the opportunity to see and test out the new technology for themselves. The Committee witnessed final testing of the first GATEway shuttle vehicle ahead of public trials and experienced TRL’s portable driving simulator, MiniDigiSim. Members were also taken for a ride in Geni, a development vehicle from GATEway partner Oxbotica that navigates using its autonomous operating system, Selenium.

The visit follows the House of Lord’s recent evidence session into driverless vehicles in which Professor Nick Reed, Academy Director at TRL gave evidence on behalf of the GATEway Project. The full evidence session can be viewed online here.

 Talking about the visit, the Committee’s Chairman, Lord Selborne, said:

 “Over the course of our inquiry we have heard compelling evidence on how autonomous vehicles can benefit society and the economy. However, if we are to realistically see these cars on UK roads in the near future, research and investment is vital. Projects such as GATEway ensure the roads are ready for driverless vehicles as well as the efficient integration of sophisticated automated transport systems into complex real world environments.”

 GATEway website image (14)

Public opinion sought on driverless cars ahead of arrival of first vehicle in Greenwich

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Ahead of the arrival of the first driverless vehicle in Greenwich, members of the public are being asked to share what they think about these new breed of vehicles.

Local residents, businesses, commuters, students and visitors are being encouraged to share their views on driverless vehicles via a web-based sentiment mapping tool as part of a series of public engagement activities within GATEway– an £8million research project to investigate the use, perception and acceptance of automated vehicles in the UK.

Designed by experts from Commonplace, the online heat map is intended to track any changes in public attitude towards driverless vehicles during the two-year project, with contributors able to revisit the site as many times as they like, adding multiple comments. As well as assessing people’s attitudes towards driverless vehicles, contributors will also be asked where they think such vehicles would and wouldn’t work within the area.

“Over the course of the GATEway project we will be trialling a number of driverless vehicles in Greenwich, but what we’re really interested in finding out is what the public think of this new technology,” commented Mike Saunders, Co-Founder of Commonplace.

Councillor Sizwe James, Royal Borough of Greenwich added: added; “This is a chance for members of the public to provide feedback on how driverless vehicles might impact life in and around Greenwich. This is going to be one of the most significant transformations in our transport system and we’re putting local people right at the centre of exciting transformation.”

Over 400 participants have already contributed to the site, which takes roughly one minute to complete. Anyone wishing to take part can do so by visiting: https://gateway.commonplace.is.

GATEway is an important part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s integrated smart city strategy launched in 2015.  The strategy sets out the Council’s plans for using the latest technologies to meet the needs of its rapidly growing population (34% between 2010-2028), to support service transformation at a time of acute pressure on public services,  and to create a stronger economy and more resilient built environment and communities.

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.

Preperation begins for GATEway public trials

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Work has begun to prepare for the arrival of the very first GATEway driverless shuttle in Greenwich, ahead of public trials in 2017.

To enable trials to take place safely and efficiently, we have made some changes to Olympian Way, including new markings to show where the shuttles will operate.

From November 2016, the first GATEway shuttle vehicle will begin its final period of testing in Greenwich ahead of public trials. The shuttle will run in a dedicated lane,  alongside a separate shared pedestrian and cycle lane and pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use Olympian Way throughout the trial period.

The shuttle trial aims 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. For more information visit our FAQ page here.

What do you think about this project?

How will driverless vehicles affect you? Add your thoughts to our interactive map of the area. You can read the views of hundreds of people who’ve already done this and then add your own. It’ll only take a few seconds, click here to add your views. https://gateway.commonplace.is/

Alternatively, if you would prefer to speak to us in person, why not attend a drop in session at the Digital Greenwich office: 11th Floor, 6 Mitre Passage, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0ER to give your views and find out more. These will take place throughout the trial period. To find out more email gatewaytrials@digitalgreenwich.com

 

Exploring public attitudes towards driverless vehicles

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The idea of a driverless vehicle can seem unsettling, partly because it suggests a lesser amount of control and the suffix -less, also equates to missing – in this instance, of not being complete, or lacking. Autonomous vehicles on the other hand, might engender a different reaction: as something that is made to be self-governing, that doesn’t have to be operated by humans because it can work things out for itself, the autonomous vehicle represents an advanced technology that doesn’t need humans to function.

But the autonomous vehicle is the next step in vehicle evolution. Automated technology has existed in varying capacities for the last century – commercial airplanes, for example, are heavily automated meaning they can take off, fly and land on their own. However, there may be a critical difference in perceptions between automated and autonomous technology. While the former may be perceived to require inputs or supervision from an operator to be made in order to function (still present in case the conditions become unsuitable for automated operation), the latter acquires inputs and makes decisions on its own, enabling it to adjust to differences in external conditions.

So what do we think of when driverless vehicles are presented to us as an inevitability? As a popular subject for Sci-fi, robotics has often been portrayed as something that can go terribly wrong: Skynet, a self-aware form of artificial intelligence, from the Terminator franchise is bent on destroying humankind; Issac Asimov’s short stories from the I, Robot series (1940–1950) contain some of the best known examples of and instances in which humans struggle to control robots precisely because they are designed to be autonomous. Indeed, the idea of autonomous robotics presents broad ethical and philosophical questions – as demonstrated by Asimov’s character Cutie (QT1) when it declares: ‘I myself, exist, because I think.’

To help better understand public’s thoughts and feelings, we are currently exploring the public’s attitude towards the new technology in an effort to understand how the preconceptions of and preoccupations about driverless vehicles might be taken into account in the design process. It’s about engaging the public in conversation about the technology from the beginning to show them how autonomous vehicles work but also that the possibilities of what they can do are potentially boundless.

Within the GATEway project, we are approaching this from two perspectives. The first of which involves gathering information from co-creation workshops to gain a better understanding of the public’s perception.

We invited people from a variety of backgrounds (from experts in robotics to the general public) to engage in the discussions and think about sets of questions and scenarios allows the team to gain an insight into why some might fear the new technology and what people would like autonomous vehicles to do for them.

In total we hosted eight workshops, including over a hundred participants, producing thousands of hopes and fears about the future and more than 30 new driverless vehicle concepts detailing potential new features, services and opportunities to transform our cities.

These workshops, run by a team of designers from the Royal College of Art in London, are helping the GATEway team to better understand the needs, aspirations and concerns of a wide range of people including drivers, non-drivers, enthusiasts, professionals and those with additional needs. So what have we learnt so far?

During the workshops we asked participants to share their understanding of driverless vehicles and helped them to dig deeper into the impact that they might have on our everyday lives.

We started by asking everyone to share their hopes about driverless vehicles – considering issues like safety, ownership, costs as well as their impact on our society and the places that we live and work. Some of their thoughts included:

  • “We’ll never have to park, pay for parking or get fined for speeding again!”
  • “It will allow us to “re-think” the concept of the “road” so that it becomes a less dominant part of our towns and cities”
  • “We’ll get rid of boy racers and dangerous drivers without licenses”
  • “It might even be safer for pets and other animals when they are crossing the road”

And when we asked people to share their concerns we heard real worries about a future that is unknown and potentially highly disruptive:

  • “It will create a two tier system between those who can afford them and those who can’t.”
  • “Even more people might want to use cars instead of trains and buses, creating more congestion and leading to even more roads and urban sprawl.”
  • “It will make us more lazy and lead to an even bigger public health crisis.”
  • “Millions of jobs will be lost and will never be replaced.”
  • “It’s going to lead to the further automation of humanity.”

Many of the ideas were translated in real time by our workshop illustrators, Karen Jiyun Sung and Christiane Matz.

Workshopimage2We then asked everyone to form small teams so that they could co-develop future driverless vehicles that met their needs in new and delightful ways.

Teams started by imagining existing journeys and scenarios and then mapped out all the challenges that they might face during the trip. Journeys included commuting, shopping and trips to see friends or family.

Workshopimage6They then got to work with Playdoh, Lego, paper and pens! Channelling their inner child everyone managed to create imaginative and potentially ground breaking new vehicles that spoke about the positive opportunities of a driverless future.

Workshopimage5

We are now analysing the almost 500,000 words of recorded conversation to identify the opportunities and challenges that might help build a positive and inclusive driverless future.

Workshopimage3The second part to the project is about delivering the idea of autonomous technology to the public through a series of exhibitions which will present a variety of vehicles in different shapes and sizes that incorporate systems and services, even architectural spaces.

We’ll be showcasing this creative work as well as ideas from Vehicle Designers at the college in an exhibition at the Transport Museum in the New Year and further details will be shared in due course.

We look forward to seeing you then.

 

 

Dan Phillips

Visiting Tutor, Royal College of Art

Dan Phillips is a designer and engineer with 30 years’ experience in the development of innovative environments, products and services. He studied at Imperial College and the University of Cambridge and tutors on the Service Design programme at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has been a member of a number of institutional advisory groups on cities, sustainability and the built environment.

Before coming to the RCA, Dan was Global Director for Sustainability at Buro Happold, ran his own design and innovation practice, the SEA, and worked at Eight Associates, Battle McCarthy, Arup and Ford on large scale projects in the UK, Europe, USA, Asia and Africa.

Project update: September 2016

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.”

Greenwich’s digital credentials driven home after TRL-led consortium wins £8m trial to pilot futuristic automated vehicles

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The global reference point for navigation will test zero emission ‘driverless’ vehicles

A successful consortium led by TRL has been selected by Innovate UK to deliver the GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment), one of three projects awarded to test ‘driverless’ vehicles in UK urban locations. The £8 million GATEway project will see trials of different types of zero emission automated vehicles within an innovative, technology-agnostic testing environment set in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The project will build upon Greenwich’s reputation as one of the UK’s premier digital hubs and aims to leave the legacy of a driverless vehicle test environment in Greenwich attracting international manufacturers and associated industries to the UK.

The ‘prime meridian’ was established at Greenwich in 1851 and as such became the global reference point for time and navigation. It is therefore fitting that the GATEway project will see Greenwich start on the path to becoming an international hub for the testing of vehicles capable of navigating autonomously. The Royal Borough of Greenwich is an ideal location for the GATEway project. Greenwich has a rapidly growing population and is pursuing a cutting-edge Smart City agenda investigating the use of technology to address the needs of its residents. The GATEway project fits perfectly within this programme. The Greenwich peninsula is home to the O2 arena, the world’s most popular entertainment venue and has road, underground, bus, taxi, river bus and cable car transport links. The GATEway project will therefore allow thorough investigation of how automated vehicles can add to a busy multimodal transport system.

In each of the trials to be undertaken within the GATEway project, safety will be effectively managed through the careful choice of test environments, vehicle systems and testing protocols and by working closely with the relevant authorities. The purpose of the project is multifaceted. It will demonstrate automated transport systems to public, industry and media stakeholders in the three planned trials. These will include various public tests of fully automated passenger shuttle transport systems and automated urban deliveries. In undertaking these tests, objective and subjective feedback on their use will be captured to build a detailed understanding of the extent to which these systems are used, trusted and accepted. This will inform how such systems can integrate into and complement existing multimodal transport infrastructure and provide essential insights into the human factors issues that may be critical for the successful deployment of automated transport systems.

TRL’s full mission driving simulator, DigiCar, will be used in parallel to investigate driver behaviour with automated vehicles using a photorealistic 3D model of the Greenwich peninsula. Risk, liability and insurance issues will be specifically addressed whilst pedestrian models of interaction with automated vehicles will be developed alongside exploration of adaptation to traffic lights to enable safe and effective automated vehicle operation.

TRL is the lead partner of the GATEway project with the Royal Borough of Greenwich as the testing location and Smart City partner. Three large multinational organisations are involved, RSA, Shell and Telefonica, each with specific interests in how vehicle automation may influence their business models. In addition to experts from TRL, research capability is provided by the Royal College of Art, which is leading stakeholder engagement activities for the project whilst the University of Greenwich and Imperial College London will provide internationally recognised domain specialists in relation to pedestrian modelling and cybersecurity respectively.

Crowd-sourcing experts, Commonplace, will use digital and social media tools to map public responses to the trial whilst additional vehicle adaptation and robotics expertise will be provided by GOBOTiX.

The project is to be supported by a diverse, high calibre advisory group, members of which will review project documentation and provide astute insights to ensure the project meets its objectives and delivers best value for Innovate UK. The advisory group is to be chaired by Lord Borwick of Hawkshead,who has led discussion of vehicle automation in the House of Lords, whilst members of group include representatives from General Motors, ATOS Worldline, the AA, the Highways Agency and the RAC Foundation.

Dr Nick Reed, Principal of Human Factors and Vehicle Automation at TRL and technical lead of the GATEway project said:

“At TRL, we are delighted to have been able to bring together this superb consortium in response to the Innovate UK Driverless Car competition and excited to get started on delivery of this genuinely innovative project as one of the winning bidders. We have the perfect location in which to demonstrate automated transport systems and our vision is to bring international recognition to Greenwich, London and the UK through this project, establishing the UK as the global centre of excellence for the testing and development of automated vehicles.”

TRL Chief Executive, Rob Wallis said:

“TRL has been innovating in the testing and development of automated vehicles for more than fifty years. The  GATEway project will allow us to demonstrate new, innovative automated transport systems to drive safe, clean, efficient and flexible urban mobility. The combination of TRL’s independent expertise; robust, reliable testing protocols and driving simulation facilities alongside the diverse and high calibre qualities of our consortium means we can safely demonstrate automated vehicles to build acceptance and trust in this revolutionary technology.”

Cllr Denise Hyland, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich said:

“This is a fantastic coup for the Royal Borough of Greenwich and demonstrates its growing reputation as one of the UK’s leading locations for Smart City innovation. The growth of the digital industry is a significant strand of our regeneration plans for the borough and our aim of creating a thriving, cutting edge digital hub is already paying dividends. The businesses we are attracting here will help create job opportunities for local residents and drive forward the borough’s economic growth.”

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