A driverless shuttle bus is to be tested around pedestrianised public areas of Greenwich, London, in the coming weeks, it has been announced.
Project Gateway, which stands for Greenwich Automated Transport Environment, is the latest in a series of public driverless shuttle services in pedestrianised areas, and will take place around the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab; where the creators of the project are based in Greenwich.
The project is funded by £5.5 million from the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, as well as a further £2.5m from partner firms, which include Heathrow Enterprises, O2 and Royal Sun Alliance. The project is also receiving funding from the Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).
The shuttles are provided by Westfield (known for its Lotus Seven spin-offs) in conjunction with Heathrow Enterprises and Oxbotica. The shuttles have a top speed of 10mph, four seats and no steering wheel or other visible controls.
Developers of the Gateway project say that its purpose is to further explore the possibility of driverless mobility solutions, as well as to find what progress needs to happen before they can be used on public roads. Public reaction is also to be gauged during the project.
Unlike other mobility schemes, such as Tesla’s proposed scheme for shared mobility solutions, drop-offs will be at select locations only, rather than passenger-requested locations. Gateway also stresses that an operator will be inside the vehicle to take control in the event of an emergency, in accordance with the DfT’s legislation for autonomous vehicle testing.