London, UK is piloting AVs
Currently home to a varied collection of AV pilots, London has become a bellwether for the future of urban AVs. The GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) will conclude in 2017 after a three year program funded by the UK government, having involved three live AV trials including a driverless shuttle, an automated grocery delivery pod, and an AV valet parking service. Earlier in 2017, Nissan chose London as its first location in Europe for road tests of its AV technology.
Yet even as these early tests come to a close, a new array of pilots is getting underway, with renewed funding by the British government. A partnership led by AV software maker Oxbotica, received £8.6 million ($11.1 million) to examine insurance and safety implications for fleets of AVs deployed in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in an end-to-end journey from London to Oxford. A group led by FiveAI, another software firm, aims to launch a supervised trial of an autonomous vehicle fleet service as an alternative to private cars on London roads in 2019 with £12.8 million ($16.5 million) in public support. Finally, AECOM will undertake a $5 million effort to test technology and business models for an end-to-end AV pod-based mobility service to debut at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by 2019. (NAVYA conducted an initial trial of driverless shuttles at this site during the month of September 2017.)
In October 2017, a consortium led by TRL, a contract research outfit, was awarded a £13.4m ($17.4 million) grant by the UK government to create the Smart Mobility Living Lab, a connected and autonomous vehicle test environment spanning sites in Greenwich and the Olympic park.