Driverless car pilot scheme comes to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 September 2019
Would you feel comfortable taking a ride in a driverless car?
That's what a two week trial in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park aimed to find out.
Run by the Capri consortium, led by Aecom, the pilot scheme saw visitors able to take a ride in an autonomous pod to test how driverless shuttles could work in the park and beyond.
Among those to take a ride in the fully electric pods were school groups, families and participants in the World Para Swimming Championships, which took place at the London Aquatics Centre earlier this month.
Park visitors could also have a go, including Jagdish Vagdma who travelled from west London specifically to ride in one of the pods.
The retired transport worker regularly volunteers in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and when he heard about the trial, he wanted to take part.
"It's fantastic," he said. "It's really great to see this in the Olympic Park."
The pods seat up to four people and work by using sensors which create a boundary box around the front and sides of the vehicle.
If anything comes into that zone - a person, an animal or even a tree - the pod will break to a stop. A screen inside the pod allows riders to see directly into the zone via a camera, as well as programme their desired route.
During the trial, the speed was limited to 5kph, but they have the capacity to go faster.
Julian Turner, chief executive of the Westfield Technology Group, said: "People have got used to them really quickly.
"This is a really great space to test the pods and the public are taking to them really well."
Lyn Garner, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, added: "Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has established itself as a testbed for innovative projects, from technology to sport.
"Connected and autonomous vehicles will change the face of transport and this is an exciting opportunity to understand the practical implications of this new technology."
And don't worry if you missed your chance to ride on one - the pods will be returning next year for another trial that will extend the route and further test the technology.