Driverless cars brave mean city streets

-INSIDE SCIENCE, 16 MARCH 2016, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Cars without drivers face two different worlds: well-spaced highway or suburban roads, and narrow city streets.

A research project in the United Kingdom is tackling the challenges of the city. The Gateway Project, an $11.6 million partnership between the British government and industry, plans to deploy autonomous vehicles in the congested, narrow streets of London. The project will test its first vehicles in Greenwich, along the banks of the Thames, in the spring.

Rather than build their own vehicles, Gateway will use small, six-person passenger pods borrowed from Heathrow airport, said Nick Reed, director of the project.

The pods look like something in a 1950s science fiction movie, although the Royal College of Art has been brought in to give them a makeover. Unlike the Heathrow pods, which now run on rails from a parking lot to a terminal, the new pods will be free-range. <Read More>