New set of Driverless pods begin trials in London
In a bid to determine their viability for future uses, driverless pods will transport members of the public around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London for a two-week trial.
The park has previously been the chosen as location for trials of pods, due to its wide pathways and limited vehicle traffic
The trial is part of a research project that is encouraging the use of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) transport services at public transport hubs and around private estates including tourist hotspots, shopping centres, hospitals, business parks and airports.
The AECOM-led Capri consortium is running the trial, which will see two British made pods autonomously operating at the Park.
Visitors will be able to book a ride using an application through information marshals located along the pods’ route.
When booking their journey, participants will choose their origin and destination stops, with the system giving destination instructions to the self-driving vehicles.
Simulating an on-demand service, the trial will help support the wider deployment of driverless shuttles in the future.
With Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park already having tested smart mobility activity in the past, alongside a wide range of other innovation projects, an important element of this trial will be to assess peoples’ behaviours and attitudes towards driverless pods.
With little existing research on how people interact with CAVs in public spaces, representatives from the Capri consortium, the University of the West of England and Loughborough University will be observing how people behave when confronted by the pods to ensure efficiency and safety, as well as surveying passengers who take a ride on them.
Focusing on trips of up to five miles, Capri is developing the next generation of autonomous pods, as well as the systems and technologies that will allow the vehicles to navigate in both pedestrian and road environments.
A key aim of the project is to develop a business model to help site owners of large and diverse estates like Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park assess whether driverless shuttles will be viable at their site and how best to invest in this emerging technology.