A driverless shuttle bus called Harry will be travelling around Greenwich, London over the new three weeks. Around 100 people, who applied alongside 5,000 others to take part in the trials, will be able to journey inside the bus. The bus is computer controlled and fitted with five cameras and three laser sensors to avoid 'incidents' during its two mile round trips near the O2. However, as these are technology trials, there will be a trained person to take over the bus controls if need be.
London's driverless shuttle was developed by Oxbotica, Heathrow Enterprises and Westfield Sportscars alongside the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and funded by government and industry. Professor Nick Reed, academy director at TRL, said "This research is another milestone in the UK's journey towards driverless vehicles and a vital step towards delivering safer, cleaner and more effective transport in our cities." It is hoped the project will improve transport in Greenwich, especially among the elderly or those with mobility impairments.
Harry travels at up to 10mph, which isn't very fast but is about three times the speed the average person walks. The leisurely pace is likely thus restricted as the shuttle will be autonomously travelling on a route alongside pedestrians and cyclists. The cameras/sensors in the bus look up to 100m ahead and the bus can do an emergency stop if anything crosses its path.
London's first autonomous shuttle bus doesn't accept many passengers at a time, as there are just four passenger seats available. The shuttle will run for 8 hours a day during its initial three week trial and collect four terabytes of data during each daily period. Analysis of the data and tweaking of the shuttle bus software will help ensure safe and uneventful journeys around Greenwich.