Driverless vehicles for London unveiled

The design of the first driverless vehicles to be trialled on the streets of London has officially been revealed.

The vehicles will be adapted from shuttle ‘pods’ currently in use at Heathrow Airport, where they run on tracks to convey passengers to Terminal Five. These will be adapted to run without tracks and will run on routes in Greenwich.

In all, seven pods will be made available for the project. Each pod will carry six passengers and a steward in case of emergencies.

Planned routes are still being made, but it is likely to encompass in residential areas and businesses around the O2 Arena at the top of the Greenwich Peninsula.

Westfield Sportscars will be responsible for manufacturing and testing the vehicles, Heathrow Enterprise will design software, and Oxford University spin-off Oxbotica will design mapping and other sensors.

Jens Nielsen, head of Nordics & UK at NetBooster, an independent European agency in digital performance marketing said, ‘Having the first driverless cars on the streets of London represents a monumental breakthrough for the automotive industry. Driverless electrical cars, combined with fully digital car-sharing platforms, will not only revolutionise the car industry, but also the way in which we transport ourselves in the very near future. This technology-driven development is further proof that every industry will soon face a full digital transformation – in fact it is already here.

‘All businesses need to think about how they will communicate with their customers in order to drive greater engagement and create dialogue one a one-to-one basis. A driverless car, for example, will offer fantastic opportunities to do location-based marketing and will also be a huge generator of data, which can then be fed back to the brand owners for further marketing and consumer engagement.’

The trial is one of four driverless car tests to be done in the United Kingdom, with further tests being run in Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes. The Greenwich trial will begin in July with invited guests before being rolled out to the general public, and will last for three months.