Self-driving car trials are of course nothing new in the UK, but later this year a fresh trial will allow ordinary members of the public – as well as business owners and professionals with an interest in the tech and how it might affect their company – to experience autonomous driving for the first time.
Registration for the scheme, organised by the Transport Research Laboratory as part of the Gateway project, is now open, and the trial will see electric driverless shuttles trundling about the Smart Mobility Living Lab inGreenwich.
As mentioned, anyone can apply whether they're a driver or non-driver, and following their trip in the automated vehicle they'll be asked to share their views and insights concerning the experience. Some may also have more in-depth interviews both before and after the trial.
Workshops will also be organised in Greenwich from June to August facilitating discussion around people's attitude towards the vehicles in general. These will be about three hours long and are again open to members of the public and interested parties from the business world alike.
Change coming to cities
Much of the debate will revolve around how driverless vehicles could affect cities in the UK, so if you have a strong personal opinion, or a belief that the technology will be a boon (or otherwise) to your business, then it might be a good idea to turn up and make your views known.
You can register for a trial or involvement in a workshop here (those who attend the workshops will also get a chance for a trip in an automated shuttle as part of that session).
Furthermore, folks can share their thoughts on driverless vehicles online if they wish; just head to this site.
Professor Nick Reed, Director at TRL and Technical Lead of the Gateway project, commented: "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."