19 April 2017
A driverless shuttle has gone into service in London to trial the idea of autonomous last-mile mobility.
The Gateway Project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) wants to look into how the pod – named Harry – reacts alongside people in a real world environment.
The shuttle will be used over a 2km route around the Greenwich Peninsula, using sensors and software to detect and avoid obstacles, while carrying members of the public participating in the study.
‘Harry’ uses a software system called Selenium, which enables real-time, robust navigation, planning and perception in a real-time environment. A safety steward will remain on-board at all times, complying with the UK’s code of practice on automated vehicle testing.
Passengers will be interviewed to give their feedback on the shuttle, and their feelings around being transported with no driver.
The Gateway Project is a research programme led by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and funded by government and industry. Its purpose is to demonstrate the use of automated vehicles for last-mile mobility, connecting existing transport hubs with residential and commercial areas using a zero-emission, low-noise transport system.
TRL Academy Director, Nick Reed, said, “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.”
Following this passenger-focused trial, the project will explore the potential for driverless pods to carry last-mile urban deliveries.
Research findings from the project will provide vital research for the long-term strategy behind automated vehicle technology in all forms of surface transport, including vans, lorries and buses.