Self-driving transport is coming to cities. Here's how it worksYou can't just build a self-driving vehicle and set it loose on the road. Professor Nick Reed explains how his team prepared London's autonomous shuttles.
[MUSIC] The self driving revolution is coming to London streets. These gateway parcels will ferry passengers through Greenwich as part of the UK's first automated vehicle test. Project leader and professor Nick Reed says the pods won't replace busses and trains but will make them more The automated shuttles we're using in our trials are designed for first mile and last mile mobility, that means connecting residential areas to transport and commercial hubs. And that means Elderly, disabled users can engaged in independent mobility, it also means that existing residents might choose to use public transport rather than get into a privately owned vehicle and have a better and [UNKNOWN] journey. The technology the vehicle uses is based on a range of different settings, primarily it's vision-based. But it uses a lidar map of the environment, a laser based 3D map of the environment to understand and learn where it needs to navigate in order to complete its journey. And here in Greenwich they'll be operating in a unsegregated environment so they need additional software and sensors to be able to do that. That additional technology is coming from a company called Oxspotica. In order to prepare the route for navigation by the shuttle vehicles, Oxbotica have gone through a process of creating a 3D laser point cloud of the environment. And that means taking a vehicle equipped with lasers around the routes that we'd like the vehicles to travel. It uses that point cloud to learn the route, and then its cameras to navigate and localize once the route is complete. As you can probably expect we're going to great lengths to ensure the safety of our trial. So we're doing a lot around the preparation of the route. So we understand what are the potential risks, where are we likely to encounter pedestrians emerging suddenly or cyclists emerging suddenly from the route. And we can control the behavior of the vehicle in those particular environments. And we've already done some limited demonstrations In trials so far. But in those limited demonstrations, we've seen people are initially slightly anxious perhaps, unsure about how the vehicle is gonna behave. But when they see that the vehicle behaves in a very predictable way, a very safe way. It brakes and steers as they would expect. They learn to enjoy it very, very quickly. And I think that's what we'll see in our trials. These automated shuttles, if they work successfully, in Greenwich, and we expect them to, we think that can be delivering. Automated services in cities in the next couple of years. It'll be a long time, though, before we can see automated vehicles that can do all of the journeys that actual human drivers are currently capable of performing. So there's lots of development work to be done. [MUSIC]