London’s First Driverless Car – Revealed!

In a remarkable feat of Engineering, three British companies have joined forces and created Britain’s first diverless car. That’s right, no driver. Nobody. It just goes. Hmm…


London’s first fully driverless cars have just been revealed.

The automated pods are set to be adapted from the shuttles that currently run up and down tracks at Heathrow, driving out on the real streets of Greenwich later this summer.

Three British companies, Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises and Oxbotica, have joined the GATEway project consortium to develop the pods using 100% British engineering and software capabilities.

The £8 million ($11.5 million) GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) has seen autonomous pods shuttle 1.5 million passengers over 3 million kilometres at the UK’s biggest and busiest airport for almost five years. It’s funded jointly by Innovate UK and industry.

Each of the three new consortium members brings a different speciality to the table as the project shifts to the streets. Westfield are overseeing the design and testing of the vehicles while Heathrow Enterprises will look after the software engineering and Oxbotica are in charge of mapping, localisation and trajectory planning.

The latter will also implement a “cloud-based shuttle management system, enabling the shuttles to operate as part of a synchronised, self-governing ecosytem, complete with smartphone booking applications, monitoring and reporting.”

The cars will be used for a variety of tasks, including driverless shuttles, autonomous valet parking and automated deliveries. The project will also examine the public’s reaction and engagement with the vehicles.

Routes haven’t been decided yet, but are thought to include residential parts of Greenwich, the North Greenwich tube station and around the iconic O2 venue.

The pods are going to be tested over a three-month period, with invited users taking part first followed by members of the public. Each pod will accommodate six passengers and a steward in case of emergencies.

“We are hoping to extend the trial period to include running it as a short service where members of the public can book to use the shuttle vehicles over defined routes,” Professor Nick Reed, the technical lead of the project, told Mashable. “We can’t guarantee participation but if people would like to get involved they can email to register their interest.”

“If the trials prove successful, we expect these iconic vehicles to become a familiar sight in many cities around the world,” Reed said in a release.

Three other trials are planned in the UK, in Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes.

If Engineering and Motor Vehicle tickles your interest, here at The Sheffield College we have some of the finest facilities in the country at our Centre for Technology Engineering and Design at Olive Grove campus. From brand new workshops, to realistic work set-ups, what other reason do you need to check out the courses now?



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