First autonomous delivery vehicle trials take place in London
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

The first UK trials of a self-driving delivery van operating in a residential area have been completed by online retailer Ocado. The tests were carried out as part of the GATEway Project in Greenwich, near the Royal Arsenal Riverside development.

The test vehicle – known as the ‘CargoPod’ – was developed by Oxbotica. It is guided by autonomy software known as Selenium, which, according to the company, enables real-time “accurate navigation, planning and perception in dynamic environments”. The pod is able to carry 128kg of groceries at a time.

The trial is aimed at demonstrating the use of autonomous vehicles for ‘last mile’ deliveries, as well as exploring public perception regarding vehicle automation. It is the latest iteration of the GATEway project, which in the first instance involved the technology being used to test passenger vehicles.

Speaking of the trial, CEO of Oxbotica Graeme Smith said: “Last mile delivery is a growing challenge as our cities become denser and more congested.

“This is truly a UK success story about enabling a young British company to become established, and able to demonstrate mature world-class technology capabilities.”

Simon Tong technical lead for the GATEway project said: “The project is unique in that it considers the effect of automated vehicles on the movement of goods as well as the movement of people.

“We envisage that cities could benefit massively if deliveries could be made by quiet, zero emission, automated vehicles when congestion is minimal.”

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