The Greenwich Automated Transport Environment project, known as Gateway, will be testing seven driverless cars in London for the first time. They will be testing the tech on the pavements around the Greenwich Peninsula in July of this year (2016).
Oddly enough, these vehicles are based on the electric passenger shuttles that are currently being used at Heathrow Airport, and the team behind the work will be adapting the pods for use on the roads.
No exact design has been released but the company has confirmed that the driverless vehicles will not run on dedicated tracks.
No confirmed routes for the test have been announced, but it will include residential areas, the North Greenwich underground station as well as the businesses surrounding the Greenwich Peninsula (where the O2 Arena is based).
An all British team will be tasked with making the technology possible.
Westfield Sportscars will be behind the manufacturing and testing of the pods,while Heathrow Enterprise will be responsible for the design of the software. Oxbotica will provide mapping and other necessary sensors that will ensure the vehicles are safe.
The pods are to undergo three months of testing, beginning with invited users and later moving on to the general public. Each pod will be designed to carry six passengers, including a steward who will be present at all times for emergencies.
The trials are set to provide immense data specific to how well people will adopt the technology. "It will tell us whether people trust and accept these vehicles and how they would work as part of the urban landscape," Professor Nick Reed, technical director for the Gateway project, told the BBC. "This vehicle has millions of miles under its belt and now we have to take it outside of the track and modify it for use on pavements."