Specially-selected participants will take part in automated valet parking demonstrations in Greenwich, London this month, playing an important role in simulating real-world opportunities for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
The trials are the latest phase of the UK’s GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) research program, which is aiming to understand and overcome the technical, legal and societal challenges of the widespread implementation of CAVs. Led by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and joint-funded by government and industry, the tests will explore the use, perception, and acceptance of automated valet parking in a complex urban environment. The Royal College of Art (RCA), robotics company Gobotix, smart cities logistics firm DG Cities and TRL will collaborate on the trials, which are taking place over five days at the Greenwich Peninsula in southeast London.
Using a Toyota Prius featuring a bespoke extension of the Gobotix remote driver assistance service app, participants will get a unique insight and experience of automated valet parking and self-drive capability, as well as the opportunity to inform thinking on its future deployment in cities. The trial, the first of its kind in the UK, will see participants drive the adapted vehicle around a predefined route in Greenwich, before employing autonomous functionality at the InterContinental Hotel to park and then summon the vehicle for a return journey.
Taking place in the Smart Mobility Living Lab: London innovation environment, around 40 recruited members of the public will take part in workshops to explore and evaluate the opportunities and challenges for automated valet parking, including business travel, shopping, and family leisure trips. Designed and facilitated by RCA, the workshops build on its internationally recognized expertise in design, research and stakeholder management in relation to vehicle design and people’s attitudes to vehicle automation. Other trials include automated passenger shuttles, automated urban deliveries, and high-fidelity simulator tests to investigate how drivers of regular vehicles respond and adapt their behavior to the presence of automated vehicles on the roads.
“There have been some incredibly valuable outcomes from previous GATEway trials, which are already informing future development of autonomous technology,” explained Richard Cuerden, director of the TRL Academy. “This latest phase allows us to develop additional insights into attitudes to automated valet parking technology, refining the experience, and capturing public perception of last-mile autonomous solutions. We’re excited to see the results.”