Ocado has shown off a prototype driverless van designed to deliver goods at short distances.
The vehicle, a cross between a small milk float and a large tuk-tuk, spent two weeks completing autonomous loops of a two-mile (3km) semi-pedestrianised area of Greenwich, south-east London. The electric CargoPod has a top speed of 25mph and can do 18 miles on a single battery charge. It can carry only eight crates and is not big enough to deliver large orders.
Over the next two or three years, you should expect to see a lot more vehicles on the road from car companies, from delivery companies, from shuttle companies.
The CargoPod trial was part of a broader £8m research project into driverless technology, using the Greenwich area as a test location. For the purposes of the test, the van’s speed was capped at 5mph and two people were inside for safety reasons. It was fitted with three Lidar (laser) sensors and a stereo camera as well as standard sensors used in modern vehicles. In order to complete the delivery, when it came to a stop one of the numbered crate doors would light up to indicate where the goods were stored. The door would then open when the recipient pressed a button.