In early April it was disclosed that about a hundred London residents will get an opportunity to have a ride in a tested self-driving car. It will be a shuttle that is still under development, and the route will be laid in London’s outskirts, not far from O2 Arena. Passengers will commute about 2 miles and see what a new kind of vehicles has to offer.
The neighborhood of Greenwich will become a new arena of autonomous tests, and London authorities plan to connect such small suburbs with major city transport hubs. Each of these prototypes will be equipped with cameras and laser units that will help them navigate their way and scan the surrounding area in order to avoid pedestrians and bicycles as the journey will take place on one of pedestrian paths. The speed will be low, however, – only 10 miles per hour. But the autonomous vehicle will be still controlled by a special person.
The tested vehicles will be provided by Oxbotica, a developer of electric cars. The company’s CEO says the vehicles can recognize the surroundings as far as 100 meters ahead. That helps the cars stop if necessary, but even sudden obstacles are not going to become a great deal for the technology, and the car will make an emergency stop, too.
The developing company is positive in its expectations about the future of its electric cars. Thus, its representatives say that the prototype that is to be tested near London is being developed right for such urban environments, where there are a lot of cyclists and pedestrians.
Right now the whole project, which value is £8 million, is being expected to be completely rolled out by 2019. It will be another kind of public transport for urban citizens and not only London residents are planned to be the target audience.
Meanwhile, the UK authorities make their step towards cooperation with developers of self-driving cars and plan to invest around £100 million for building the right infrastructure for driverless tests.