LONDON — Self-driving vehicles are hitting the streets of the British capital.
A driverless shuttle is being tested in Greenwich, East London over the next three weeks, and members of the public will be on board.
The trial is being organised by GATEway, short for Greenwich Automated Transport Environment — a research project looking into self-driving cars and the challenges facing them.
The aim of the trial is to see how the tech “functions alongside people in a natural environment,” GATEway said in an emailed announcement.
The shuttle will take a two-kilometre route around the Greenwich Peninsula, taking about half an hour to complete, a spokesperson said.
But unfortunately, you can’t just turn up and hop in. All the participants in the study have already been selected following applications last year.
The shuttle doesn’t have a steering wheel, or any traditional controls, instead relying on sensors to navigate its environment automatically. As you can see, the prototype doesn’t look much like a traditional car. It seats four people — three participants, plus a “steward” keeping an eye on everything.
In a statement, UK Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd said: “The UK has a history of innovation in the auto sector and this type of technology has the potential to save lives as well as offer freedom to the elderly or those with mobility impairments. “The GATEway project exemplifies the innovation that the UK excels at, and through our Industrial Strategy, we will continue to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of this cutting edge work.”