Driverless car trials to begin in Greenwich

Members of the public in London Borough of Greenwich are being asked to sign up to help test driverless cars.

The UK’s first public trials of the new technology are being run by the Greenwich Automated Transport Environment (GATEway) project, a link-up between the Royal College of Art and Transport Research Laboratory.

In an £8 million trial, it will run fully electric automated vehicles around the streets of the south London borough, with GATEway seeking to find out how different types of people feel about the technology.

Greenwich councillor Sizwe James said: “This is a unique opportunity for local residents and businesses to provide input in to what could be one of the most significant transformations in our transport system.

“The council has consistently demonstrated its commitment to being at the leading edge of smart city innovation and the public trials are another example of how we’re turning this promise into action.”

Professor Nick Reed, director at TRL and Technical Lead of the GATEway project, said: “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 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.”

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The team will also run workshops to brainstorm ideas for the future of driverless vehicles, seeking to better understand people’s attitudes towards the use of driverless cars.

Local residents will be asked where and how they could work in and around the borough.

Business secretary Sajid Javid said: “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.”

Colin Marrs

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