London’s Driverless Shuttle ‘Harry’ Begins Taking Riders

GATEway driverless shuttles prototype pictured.
Image: Courtesy GATEway

The GATEway driverless shuttle began taking riders around the Greenwich Peninsula in the U.K.’s first public trial of autonomous electric vehicles.

GREENWICH, ENGLAND — In the latest phase of the Greenwich Automated Transport Environment (GATEway Project) ‘Harry’ the prototype shuttle began driverless navigation of a 2km route around the Greenwich Peninsula.

Harry uses sensors and autonomy software by Oxbotica called Selenium, which enables realtime, robust navigation, planning and perception in dynamic environments, to detect and avoid obstacles. The driverless shuttle will carry 100 people that elected to participate in the research study.

The GATEway Project is led by TRL and funded by government and industry. It aims to demonstrate the use of automated vehicles for ‘last mile’ mobility, seamlessly connecting existing transport hubs with residential and commercial areas using a zero emission, low noise transport system. Research findings from the project will guide the wider roll out of automated vehicle technology in all forms of surface transportation.

The focus of the study is how the technology functions alongside people in the city. This first trial will explore people’s pre-conceptions of driverless vehicles and barriers to acceptance through detailed interviews with participants before and after they ride in the shuttle.

Residents and visitors to the peninsula are invited to leave feedback via an interactive map. There are already more than 500 comments in one day. One rider requested:

More demonstraions and opportunities for people to trial so they can experience what it would be like to travel using this method and would raise confidence in this method of travel.”

The shuttle was developed by Westfield Sportscars, Heathrow Enterprises and Oxbotica.

GATEway is an  £8 million project that will be conducting three types of automated vehicle trials. Other GATEway trials include automated urban deliveries, remote teleoperation demonstrations, exploring how automated vehicle systems work for people with additional travel needs and high-fidelity simulator tests to investigate how drivers of regular vehicles respond and adapt their behavior to the presence of automated vehicles on the roads.

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