The first driverless shuttle bus has hit the roads in London. Members of London have been given the extended trial of the driverless vehicle for the first time. Around 100 people over next three weeks will travel in a prototype shuttle on a two-mile route in Greenwich, London. This project would help the public living near Greenwich to access the existing public transport hubs. The vehicle is highly computerized and will travel up to 10 mph. There will also be a trained person present on the board in case of emergency.
Around 5000 people have applied to take part in the study, said Oxbotica, the firm that developed the shuttle. Dr. Graeme Smith, chief executive of Oxbotica said: “This vehicle should be as comfortable as other vehicles for the passengers. It should not be a hasty ride.” He further added, “Very few people have experienced an independent vehicle, so this is all about letting people see one in person.”
The vehicle doesn’t have any steering wheel or brake pedal and four people can sit at a time in one seat. The vehicle will see up to 100 metres ahead and if anything comes in between in its path it will gracefully halt by making use of its software. It can also halt immediately in case of emergency. The main aim of this trial was to find out how technology functions alongside people in a natural environment.
While taking the trial, five cameras and three lasers would be used to navigate a 2.5-mile path near the O2 that is also used by pedestrians and cyclists. During travelling for 8 hours, a shuttle will collect a huge amount of data (around four terabytes) that is equal to 2,000 hours of film. This shuttle project is sponsored by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and the finance is provided by government and industry.