Later this year, a two-kilometre route in Greenwich will become the site of the first real driverless taxi trial in the UK. The route, connecting a hotel close to the O2 Arena with the Millennium Village housing development, will have four stops and will also call at a river-bus stop and the Emirates Airline cable-car terminal.
It will be served by autonomous shuttles that can ferry up to five passengers each, at a maximum speed of 15 kilometres per hour.
The shuttles will also carry a safety warden to provide human oversight – and slow down or stop the vehicles if necessary.
Similar shuttles are in use at Heathrow airport, but are confined to an area off limits to other traffic. In Greenwich, the driverless taxis will mingle with pedestrians and cyclists. The trial is scheduled to last four weeks. Unlike previous trials, in Milton Keynes and also in Greenwich, participants will not need to register in advance, meaning this experiment is much closer to an actual taxi experience.