London’s first driverless cars to hit city streets this summer

29 Jan 2016

The driverless vehicles at Greenwhich will be similar to the autonomous pods in use at Heathrow Airport

The first driverless cars approved for London will hit the city’s streets this summer as the consortium behind the GATEway Project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) was selected to test driverless vehicles in the UK capital.

GATEway’s driverless cars will be similar to the autonomous shuttles in use at Heathrow Airport and the pods will be adapted for use on public roads.

The £8m GATEway Project was selected by Innovate UK to demonstrate through various public tests the value of self-driving cars to the public, industry and media.

These will include various public tests of fully-automated passenger shuttle transport systems and autonomous valet parking for adapted cars.

The project will see three trials of different types of zero-emission automated vehicles within an innovative, technology-agnostic testing environment in Greenwich.

London’s driving

Greenwich is one of four places in the UK where driverless vehicles will be tested. The other locations are Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes.

The driverless pods will be tested on the pavements around the Greenwich Penninsula in London, where the O2 Arena is located, from July.

Similar pods – also known as UltraPODs – at Heathrow Airport carry passengers between the car park and Terminal 5 and have carried 1.5m passengers more than three million kilometres.

Partners in the GATEway Project include TRL, RSA, Shell, Telefonica, Imperial College London, Phoenix Wings, Globotix, Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises and Oxbotica.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years