Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Driverless UK vehicles head for Greenwich

The first of the UK’s driverless vehicle projects made its inaugural journey today in Greenwich, London.

GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment project) is one of three projects chosen by the UK Government to deliver demonstrations of automated vehicles in urban environments. 

The trial officially began 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 named the Meridian Shuttle, which will be evaluated in various scenarios over the next two years.

GATEway will test a number of important factors involved with the use of 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 and explore the reactions of both pedestrians, drivers and other road users to automated vehicles

The GATEway project is made up of a consortium of eleven members, led by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) along with key partners including the Royal Borough of Greenwich, which is the location for the trials.

Other key consortium members include insurance company RSA, who examine how automated vehicles might impact the motor insurance market; as well as Shell and Telefonica who will be learning how the technology might impact their sectors.

The University of Greenwich will research 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.”

Transport minister Claire Perry added: “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,” Perry concluded.

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