FOI request detail

Autonomous Vehicles

Request ID: FOI-2425-1617
Date published: 05 May 2017

You asked

Please could you send me any documents, reports, presentations etc relating to autonomous/"self driving" car trials in London in 2016 or 2017? I'm aware of the trial currently underway with Nissan in East London (near the Excel centre), but any other trails would be of interest too.

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-2425-1617


Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 5 March 2017 asking for information about autonomous vehicles.


Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require.


We are currently aware of three autonomous vehicle trials in London for 2016 and 2017 of which details are below.


GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment)


GATEway is an £8m research project, led by TRL, to understand and overcome the technical, legal and societal challenges of implementing automated vehicles in an urban environment. Transport for London are a member of their advisory board and all information can be found on their website:  

The three GATEway produced documents/presentations that we hold are attached for your reference.


Nissan Autonomous Vehicle Demonstration

February-March 2017

Nissan undertook testing of their autonomous vehicle technology in February and March 2017 in the Borough of Newham. A number of documents, mostly produced by Nissan are attached for your reference. Two documents attached were created by TfL; one was to make road and street work co-ordination teams aware of Nissan’s trial and the second is a list of people involved internally to support the safe delivery of the trial.


Volvo Drive Me London


We understand Volvo are planning to launch their autonomous vehicle trial in London later in 2017.


Autonomous vehicle technology is an interesting development, which we are following closely as we do with all potential transport innovation. We are adopting a safety first approach to any trial in London.


Please note that disclosure of some information covered by your request is likely to prejudice the commercial interests of both TfL and third parties if it is disclosed to the wider public, which would include business competitors. This information is therefore covered by section 43(2) of the FOI Act which exempts information where disclosure would be likely to prejudice commercial interests.


The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise that there is a public interest in openness and transparency. However we feel that there is a greater public interest in ensuring that we retain the confidence of our prospective partners, as well as respecting the confidentiality requirement until such a time as a formal announcement is made.


Furthermore, some information is also exempt under s38. This applies to the registration plates associated with the autonomous vehicles being used as part of any such trials.  As this technology is in its early stages we feel that disclosure of this information could potentially affect the behaviour of other road users if they were aware they were next to an autonomous vehicle.


The use of this exemption is also subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We feel that there is a greater public interest in ensuring that the trials are conducted as safely as possible.


Lastly, please note that in accordance with TfL’s obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) some personal data has been removed, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the DPA, specifically the first principle of the DPA which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act which would make the processing ‘fair’.


If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.


Yours sincerely


Lee Hill

Senior FOI Case Officer


FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London


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