'Living lab' for autonomous vehicles launched in Greenwich

A ‘living laboratory’, where autonomous vehicles can be tested, has been launched today in Greenwich, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has announced.

The UK transport consultancy announced the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich, a real-life environment where autonomous vehicles and other cars can be safely built, tested and integrated within the local community.

The goal of the project is to bring autonomous vehicles to the market faster, allowing them to be tested in a real-life environment. It will be available for use to vehicle manufacturers, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and tech developers.

TRL says there are three main challenges the autonomous vehicles market is facing today: 1) the variety of technologies available to OEMs today, 2) the rate at which those technologies can be implemented and 3) the auto-industry’s ability to adapt to changes quickly.

The Lab’s mission would be to help overcome these challenges.

“The launch of the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab is an important step in the path towards vehicle automation. Many organisations are testing autonomous systems in dedicated off-street facilities, but the success of these vehicles largely depends on how they integrate into real world living environments, alongside existing transport services,” said Rob Wallis, CEO of TRL. “By providing a welcoming and real-life regulatory environment for testing, TRL can help accelerate the adoption of new technology and enable the UK to play a pivotal role in the development of this global market over the next five years.”

Transport Minister Andrew Jones added: “Driverless cars will improve road safety and bring huge benefits to the economy. We have backed projects in Greenwich with £9m of funding that are helping to turn it into a major centre for testing and demonstration. I am excited to see the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab progress, helping to keep the UK at the forefront of the motoring of the future.”