Greenwich community invited to share thoughts on driverless vehicles

RSA Group

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People who live, work, study or travel in the Royal Borough of Greenwich invited to have their say on driverless vehicles

People who live, work, study or travel in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are being invited to have their say on driverless vehicles as part of the GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project—an £8m research project to investigate the use, perception and acceptance of autonomous vehicles in the UK. RSA is a GATEway partner.  

To help inform the research, local residents, businesses, commuters, students and visitors are being encouraged to share their views on driverless vehicles via a web-based sentiment mapping tool. The site, developed and managed by UK-based social enterprise start-up and GATEway partner Commonplace, provides members of the public with a chance to provide feedback on how driverless vehicles might impact life in and around Greenwich. Contributors are able to revisit the site as many times as they like, adding as many comments as they wish, whenever they choose throughout the duration of the project.

“The aim of the site is to give those familiar with the Greenwich area a chance to provide input on where and how driverless vehicles could work in and around Greenwich. It’s about putting local people right at the centre of exciting transformation and giving them a chance to influence decision making in this area.”

Mike Saunders, co-founder of Commonplace

Councillor Sizwe James, Royal Borough of Greenwich added: “This is a unique opportunity for local residents to provide input in to what could be one of the most significant transformations in our transport system. The Council has consistently demonstrated its commitment to being at the leading edge of smart city innovation and the public trials are another example of how we’re turning this promise into action.”

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Investigating public perception, reaction and engagement

Contributors to the site and members of the public can also sign up for a chance to participate in workshops, interviews and vehicle trials in Greenwich later this year. Taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich and led by TRL (the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory), the trials will see fully automated electric vehicles navigating their way around Greenwich. Selected participants will be able to ride in a driverless vehicle and will be asked to provide feedback about their experiences.

“Making driverless cars a reality is going to revolutionise our roads and travel, making journeys safer, faster, and more environmentally-friendly. Very few countries can match our engineering excellence in the automotive sector or our record on innovative research, and this announcement shows we are already becoming one of the world’s leading centres for driverless cars technology.”

—Sajid Javid, Business Secretary

Professor Nick Reed, director at TRL and technical lead of the GATEway Project added: “The move to automated vehicles is probably the most significant change in transport since the transition from horse drawn carriages to motorised vehicles. Testing these vehicles in a living environment, like the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab, takes the concept from fiction to reality. It gives the public a chance to experience what it’s like to ride in an automated vehicle and to make their own mind up as to how much they like it, trust it and could accept it as a service in the city.”

RSA is a GATEway partner

The GATEway project is an £8m project jointly funded by government and industry. Led by TRL, which has over 50 years’ of experience in vehicle automation, the project will investigate public perception, reaction and engagement with a range of different types of automated vehicles.

The project is an important part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s integrated smart city strategy launched in 2015 which sets out the Council’s plans for using the latest technologies to meet the needs of its rapidly growing population (34% between 2010-2028), to support service transformation at a time of acute pressure on public services,  and to create a stronger economy  and more resilient built environment & communities.

GATEway is one of three projects awarded by Innovate UK under its competition entitled ‘Introducing driverless cars to UK roads’. The other two projects are UK Autodrive in Coventry and Milton Keynes, and Venturer in Bristol.

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