Thursday 27 June 2019 9:01 am

Self-driving cars get first London test routes

Self-driving cars have been granted their first ever London test routes in a major step forward for real-world driverless vehicle trials

The testbed, which is a UK industry first, will consist of 26km of public road in Greenwich and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.

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The routes will be monitored by live CCTV, with roadside sensors for collecting and sharing data between vehicles and infrastructure.

Companies will be able to create their own bespoke routes across the two sites to test their driverless cars in a range of different conditions.

The testing site was unveiled by autonomous vehicle firm Smart Mobility Living Lab, and trials will be carried out by a consortium of firms led by transport group TRL.

“SMLL’s world-class testbed will ensure any organisation has simple and straightforward access to real-world urban road conditions utilising established safety processes, audited test routes and independent test data from our on-road infrastructure and analysis technologies,” said Iwan Parry, TRL market development lead. 

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The launch comes after the government carried out an overhaul of regulation in a bid to speed up the rollout of driverless cars.

Earlier this year the Department for Transport said it will allow trials of self-driving cars on any public road without a human safety driver behind the wheel, as long as the vehicle had passed “rigorous” safety assessments.