5,000 members of the public have signed up to ride in the autonomous prototype shuttle
Autonomous vehicle tests are underway in London’s borough of Greenwich, with 5,000 members of the public signing up to take a ride on Oxbotica’s driverless shuttle.
Through the use of cameras, sensors, lasers and machine learning the shuttle can ferry four people at a time to their destination in Greenwich, over the next three weeks.
The shuttle can travel up to a 10mph, hardly warp speed, but will at least avoid too much damage if a collision occurs while it navigates a two-mile riverside route used by both pedestrians and cyclists. To also prevent such an outcome, an operator will be onboard the shuttle to stop it if things go awry.
London starts embracing driverless cars
The idea behind the trial is to not only test the autonomous technology but to also instil the idea to the British public that driverless vehicles are not some form of arcane technology but a viable partner or replacement to human drivers.
“Very few people have experienced an autonomous vehicle, so this is about letting people see one in person,” chief executive Graeme Smith told the BBC.
“We hope to gain acceptance from members of the public for vehicles sharing this kind of space with them.
“We are also looking at how people in the vehicle respond when being transported from A to B.”
Greenwich is not the only place in the UK that is playing host to driverless car testing, with Milton Keynes also a hotspot for autonomous vehicle trials.
With the potential to reduce delays and journey times, it is no wonder autonomous vehicles are bing tested in the UK, a nation with fairly traffic clogged main roads.
Autonomous technology also has a role to play in the creation of cars as well as their driving, with General Motors having connected a swathe of its robotic factory workforce to the Internet in order to harness cloud computing and data analytics for productivity-boosting predictive maintenance.
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