Announcement self-driving car in UK

The first self-driving car to be used on London’s public roads has been revealed.  The driverless shuttles will be based on the design of Heathrow Airport’s electric passenger shuttles, however they are not riding on specific tracks.  They are part of a  £8 million Greenwich Automated Transport Environment project, which is testing driverless vehicles to show they are a valid transport option for the UK.  Seven of the adapted Heathrow cars will be tested on Greenwich pavements from July.

The London-based project, a public-private partnership, funded by Innovate UK – the government’s innovation agency -, and industry – is looking at driverless shuttles, autonomous valet parking and automated urban deliveries.

“If the trials prove successful, we expect these iconic vehicles to become a familiar sight in many cities around the world,” said Nick Reed, technical director of the GATEway project.

The Heathrow Airport shuttle currently runs between the business car park and Terminal 5. It has carried 1.5 million passengers and saved the around 100 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emissions from buses a year.  The GATEway trial is not the first time self-driving cars have travelled UK streets. The first driverless car was unveiled in Milton Keynes in September – paving the way for public trials across the UK.  The UK government announced it would invest £100 million in research and development of autonomous cars.

The driverless car sector is growing at 16 per cent a year and the government estimates it will be worth £900 billion a year globally by 2025.