Public given driverless taster

Around 100 members of the public will get a taste of a driverless future with the first extended trial of driverless shuttle bus in Greenwich, London.

The autonomous vehicle, which travels up to 10mph (16.1kmph), will have a trained person onboard who can stop the shuttle if required.

Oxbotica, the firm that developed the shuttle, said 5,000 members of the public had applied to take part in the study.

‘Very few people have experienced an autonomous vehicle, so this 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.’

During the trial, five cameras and three lasers will help it navigate a two-mile riverside path near London’s O2 Arena, an area also used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Philippa Oldham, head of manufacturing and transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said, ‘The benefits of driverless vehicle technology are huge as it could lead to fewer accidents. Statistics tell us that 95% of vehicle accidents are the result of human error so it makes sense to look at how we can use this new technology to help save lives.

‘If we truly want the UK to become a world leader of driverless vehicle technology we need to get communities on-side and championing projects like this is a step in the right direction.

‘We hope that this Greenwich project is the start of many more driverless trials around the UK and encourage the public to get involved.’