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Londoners Can Register To Try Out Driverless Cars In Greenwich

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Greenwich residents can now sign up for trials of new GATEway autonomous vehicles

Londoners looking for any easy ride are now able to sign up for trials of the capital’s first ever autonomous vehicles.

A pilot scheme is to be held in the borough of Greenwich, in the south east of the city, as part of an £8 million project to drive forward the adoption of driverless cars in the UK.

Participants are able to sign up now as the project looks to get a wider understating on how different user groups and demographics respond to the technology.

Drive on

GATEway podThe trials, part of the government-backed GATEway project run by TRL and Innovate UK, will see fully electric automated vehicles navigating their way around Greenwich.

Using a developed version of the existing Ultra PODS currently in service at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5, where they ferry passengers between gates, the plan is to have the vehicles on the streets of Greenwich by July, where they will undergo three months of testing.

Successful applicants will get to ride in the vehicles as they carry out journeys, before giving feedback to the GATEway team about what aspects need to be improved. Greenwich residents are also being urged to share their views on driverless vehicle technology using a new online site to comment on how the vehicles are behaving around the borough.

“Testing these vehicles in a living environment, like the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab, takes the concept from fiction to reality,” said Professor Nick Reed, director at TRL and technical lead of the GATEway project.

“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.”

“Making driverless cars a reality is going to revolutionise our roads and travel, making journeys safer, faster, and more environmentally-friendly,” added Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

“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.”

A recent KPMG report predicted that connected and autonomous cars will create 320,000 UK jobs and save thousands of lives over the next few years, alongside delivering “huge benefits to society and the economy”.

This includes delivering a £51 billion boost to the UK economy and a massive reduction in serious road traffic accidents, which could fall by more than 25,000 a year by 2030.

Alongside the Greenwich trial, Innovate UK is also backing two other autonomous vehicle projects in the UK – the others of which are UK Autodrive in Coventry and Milton Keynes, and Venturer in Bristol.

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