Driverless Shuttle Bus Being Tested in London

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The first extended public trial of a driverless shuttle bus is being carried out in London.

As part of the trial, about 100 people will travel in a prototype shuttle on a route in Greenwich over the next three weeks.

The computer-controlled vehicle travels just over 16 kilometres per hour. It can seat four people and has no steering wheel or brake pedal.

However, there will be a trained person on board who can stop the shuttle if required during the tests.

Officials behind the project believe the shuttles could improve transport links in Greenwich.

Passengers could begin using the system by 2019 on a trial basis and it may eventually be rolled out elsewhere, ‘BBC News’ reported.

“We hope to gain acceptance from members of the public for vehicles sharing this kind of space with them,” said Graeme Smith, chief executive at Oxbotica, which developed the technology behind the shuttle.

During the trial, five cameras and three lasers will help the shuttle navigate a two-mile riverside path near London’s O2 Arena.

The shuttle can see up to 328 feet ahead and comes to a steady stop if it detects something in its path – although it can also apply an emergency brake if required.

“It’s been designed to be safe and fail-safe specifically in a pedestrianised environment,” Smith added.