Members of the public are now eligible to apply to take part in the UK’s first public driverless vehicle trials, which will be held in Greenwich later this year.
The trials form part of Greenwich Automated Transport Environment (GATEway), an £8 million research project created to analyse acceptance, perception and use of driverless vehicles amongst the general public.
The new vehicle trials will take place at the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab in the Greenwich area and will be carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).
Drivers chosen to be a part of the tests will be given the opportunity to use one of the driverless vehicles and will be asked to provide their views on the experience. They’ll also be interviewed on their views regarding autonomous vehicles before and after the test, in a bid to find out if the experience had a positive or negative effect on their opinions.
Sajid Javid, Business Secretary, said: “Making driverless cars a reality is going to revolutionise our roads and travel, making journeys safer, faster, and more environmentally-friendly.
“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.”
Professor Nick Reed, director at TRL, as well as being the technical lead for the GATEway project, said: “The move to automated vehicles is probably the most significant change in transport since the transition from horse drawn carriages to motorised vehicles.
“Testing these vehicles in a living environment, like the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab, takes the concept from fiction to reality.
“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.”
Members of the public also have the option of registering to take part in workshops to help visualise the future of autonomous vehicles in the UK as a whole. These workshops will take place from June 2016 and will aim to try and better understand people’s attitudes towards driverless cars in general.
In addition to debating and discussing the technology, debate participants will also have the opportunity to discuss the creative side of the industry with designers and researchers from GATEway’s academic partner, the Royal College of Art.
GATEway partner, Commonplace has developed and managed a new sentient mapping tool, and anyone with experience and knowledge of the Greenwich area has been encouraged to provide feedback on how they think driverless technology could impact the area.
Mike Saunders, the co-founder of Commonplace, said: “The aim of the site is to give those familiar with the Greenwich area a chance to provide input on where and how driverless vehicles could work in and around Greenwich.