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‘Driverless cars’ are coming to London

Thursday 3rd November 2016

The first driverless cars will arrive in London later this month as part of an £8m research project based in Greenwich.

The Transport Network website says that as part of the GATEway trials (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment), a fleet of up to seven shuttle vehicles will run along a 2.5km route round the Greenwich Peninsula, using a dedicated lane alongside a separate shared pedestrian and cycle lane.

As part of the project, local residents, businesses, commuters, students and visitors are being encouraged to share their views on driverless vehicles via a web-based sentiment mapping tool.

The online heat map is intended to track any changes in public attitude towards driverless vehicles during the two-year project, with contributors able to revisit the site as many times as they like, adding multiple comments.

As well as assessing people's attitudes towards driverless vehicles, contributors will also be asked where they think such vehicles would and wouldn't work within the Greenwich area.

Councillor Sizwe James, Royal Borough of Greenwich said: "This is a chance for members of the public to provide feedback on how driverless vehicles might impact life in and around Greenwich.

“This is going to be one of the most significant transformations in our transport system and we're putting local people right at the centre of exciting transformation."

Last month Transport Systems Catapult carried out the UK’s first public trial of a self-driving vehicle. The ‘LUTZ Pathfinder’ took to the streets of Milton Keynes on 11 October.

Using virtual maps, the two-seater vehicle travelled 1.25 miles through pedestrianised areas of the town, reaching speeds of up to 15mph.

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If one of these vehicles breaks the law who is prosecuted?
Robert Bolt St Albans

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I feel sorry for the cameraman whose brief was obviously to reveal tantalising glimpses of the vehicle, somewhat in the style of Stephen Spielberg, before finally showing it in all its glory. I write as a former Lada owner, so my sense of aesthetic shame is patently chronically underdeveloped, but even I would not be seen dead in this vehicle. It looks like a mobile public convenience and for me, whatever its technical qualities are, its appearance dooms it to failure. It is a carbuncle on Greenwich's streets (or, more correctly, its pedestrianised areas). I note that, so confident are those who proclaim it as the future, it is accompanied by men in hi-vis jackets as it inches around. I realise that all new tech has to start somewhere, but compare this against Stephenson's Rocket with its unprecedented speed and style. There is painful irony in having a registered blind man tell us that he likes it.
David, Suffolk

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