Trials run by UK government funded research units will test to see how successfully driverless vehicles can be use to delivery parcels and other goods in London. The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is running a wide range of tests and projects to see how autonomous (i.e. driverless) vehicles can be deployed on UK streets, and how the general public will react to their presence. One of the key programmes is the Greenwich Automated Transport Environment (GATEway) project which will test the use of the vehicles in an urban environment.
Reports published over the weekend by the Mail Online and Sunday Times indicated that, as part of the test programme, autonomous vans may be used to “move parcels between either warehouses and shops or stores and homes in south east London”.
A source at the TRL confirmed to Post&Parcel today (21 December) that using autonomous vehicles for deliveries will be one of the projects that will be conducted in Greenwich. “This will be the last of the three projects, so it will probably take place in the autumn or winter,” added the source.
The TRL source added that the vehicles will be autonomous, but there will be a human operative in the van to ensure the operation runs smoothly and to take control in the case of an emergency.
Last month, Royal Mail’s chief executive Moya Greene said at a CBI event in November that: “We can probably see a day when we’re going to have driverless trucks.”