Over the next three weeks, Oxbotica's new driverless shuttle, dubbed "Harry," will be put to the test during a trial in Greenwich, London.
The BBC reports that around 100 people are expected to travel using the prototype, which can accommodate four people and move at a speed up to 16.1 kmh (10 mph). It comes equipped with five cameras and three lasers to help navigate a two-mile route close to London’s O2 Arena, which is frequented by pedestrians and cyclists.
"Very few people have experienced an autonomous vehicle, so this is 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."
According to Industry Minister Nick Hurd, "The UK has a history of innovation in the auto sector, and this type of technology has the potential to save lives as well as offer freedom to the elderly or those with mobility impairments."
To that end, the shuttle has been designed to ensure safety in a pedestrian-frequented environment. It can see up to 100 meters (328 feet) ahead and will immediately stop should anything appear in its way, applying emergency brakes if required. While Harry has no steering wheel or brake pedal, a trained person will be on board to stop it manually during trial if needed.