The next phase of the Gateway project – an open public trial of driverless pods – will start around the Greenwich peninsula in London in the autumn.
The autonomous pods will provide first and last mile transportation by connecting important transport hubs with business, leisure and residential locations.
Fusion Processing will provide sensing and control equipment on the brand new pods that are being built by Westfield Sportscars.
The pods are based on the original Heathrow Airport platform pod design and have been updated for use in first and last mile transportation operational environments.
Simon Tong from TRL, which is the Technical Lead on the project, said: “Gateway has always been focused on exploring public perception and understanding of driverless vehicles.
“With Fusion joining the team, Gateway is in a unique position to let the public interact with three very different autonomous control systems during our urban trials. Each of our autonomy providers – Fusion Processing, Oxbotica and Gobotix – are great British success stories, and together with Westfield, they represent the diversity of driverless expertise in the UK.”
In April this year, the Gaateway project provided more than one hundred members of the public an opportunity to ride in the first prototype driverless pod in Greenwich powered by Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomous control system.
In the next phase of the project, using Fusion Processing’s autonomy system, the Gateway project intends to transport hundreds more people with a fleet of new Westfield pods based at the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Dr Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica, said: “It was an amazing opportunity for us to step into the Gateway project and deploy our Selenium autonomy system into the prototype pod and demonstrate it so successfully in research trials conducted by the Royal College of Art and TRL. We wish Westfield and Fusion well as they take their product closer to a production phase”
Tong continued: “This is a really exciting time for the project. We’re very grateful to Oxbotica for all they have contributed in helping us learn more about the complexities of operating a driverless pod in an urban environment.
“With Fusion, we look to build on all we have learned for our fleet of new driverless pods so that Gateway can conclude with a trial that will engage as many people as possible and hopefully amaze them at the same time.”
The trial is one of a number of automated vehicle tests within the Gateway project investigating public acceptance of automated vehicles within the urban mobility landscape. Other trials in the project include last-mile automated deliveries (tested in June 2017) and autonomous valet parking (due to be tested later in 2017).
Gateway is jointly funded by government and industry. The Government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility fund is administered by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.