Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

The Royal College of Art’s Intelligent Mobility Design Centre and the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design presents Driverless Futures, Utopia or Dystopia? at London Transport Museum

Driverless Futures: Utopia or Dystopia
3 March –23 April 2017
London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 7BB

The first driverless vehicles are expected to be publically available from 2020. From 3 March – 23 April, the Royal College of Art will present an interactive design display as part of London Transport Museum’s Designology exhibition, that will explore the world of driverless vehicles as part of the GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment).

The dawn of autonomous vehicles presents the most significant change in transport since the transition from horse drawn carriages to motorised vehicles. As driverless technology develops, it is estimated that driverless vehicles will be prolific in our cities from 2050. This exhibition will dig deep into the impact these developments will have on our everyday lives, and will highlight real-life hopes and fears as well as ideas from Vehicle Designers at the RCA.

Driverless Futures will look at peoples' aspirations about driverless vehicles as well as their concerns by using the narrative of four fictional characters and scenarios based on real journeys. Thinking beyond traditional car-like vehicles to include systems, services and even architectural spaces, these future lifestyles might include an orderable bus service that takes commuters door-to-door and allows them to take a yoga class while travelling, or hirable drones that carry shopping bags home. Whether these changes will herald the end of busy commutes and personal freedom, or the loss of independence and the decline of healthy lifestyles, Driverless Futures will consider possible perspectives.

The designs and findings are drawn from new research that the RCA has developed through public workshops with over 100 participants, incorporating thousands of resultant hopes and fears for future cities.

Visitors to the display will be encouraged to put forward their own ideas for the future and thereby inform future investigations – from hopes, relating to accessible and affordable driverless vehicles with less stress, less pollution and safer streets, to fears, of streets and cities filled with intimidating machines and isolated people.

London Transport Museum is inviting visitors to a series of workshops as part of its current Designology exhibition programme. Designers and Researchers from the RCA will be in the Studio meeting visitors and showcasing their work.

The dates for the workshops are:

09 March – Entertaining interiors

16 March – What can be made ‘driverless’?
06 April – Cars for Kids
13 April – Autonomous Architecture 

Or join our debate in the Cubic Theatre:
20 April – DEBATE: Driverless Futures, Utopia or Dystopia?

Driverless Futures has been developed by designers and researchers at the RCA as part of the £8m GATEway research project led by TRL and jointly funded by Innovate UK and industry, to understand and overcome the technical, legal and social challenges of implementing automated vehicles in an urban environment.

To continue the debate online go to or see comments about the GATEway project at


For further information or images please contact Bethany Bull, RCA Press Office on t: +44 (0) 20 7590 4114, e: [email protected], or [email protected]

Notes to Editors

London Transport Museum Opening Times
Monday-Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10.00 - 18.00 (Last entry 17.15)
Friday 11.00 - 18.00 (Last entry 17.15)

Intelligent Mobility Design Centre, a new multi-million pound research centre at the RCA, partners with Industry leaders to explore and develop research looking at the intersection of people, vehicles and technology within a complex and changing urban and global environment.

The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design provides a focus for people-centred design research and innovation at the Royal College of Art, London. Originally founded in 1991 to explore the design implications of an ageing society, the centre now works to advance a socially inclusive approach to design through practical research and projects with industry. 

The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading university of art and design, placing at Number One in the 2016 and 2015 QS World University Rankings. Specialising in teaching and research, the RCA offers the degrees of MA, MPhil, MRes and PhD across the disciplines of applied art, fine art, design, communications and humanities. There are over 1,500 Master’s and doctoral students and more than 1,000 professionals interacting with them – including scholars, art and design practitioners, along with specialists, advisers and distinguished visitors.

GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) is an £8m research project, led by TRL and jointly funded by government and industry, to understand and overcome the technical, legal and societal challenges of implementing automated vehicles in an urban environment.

Taking place in Greenwich, one of the UK’s leading smart cities, the project is trialling and validating a series of different use cases for automated vehicles, including driverless shuttles and automated urban deliveries.

Results will help both industry and policymakers understand the implications of driverless vehicles and deliver a safe and validated test environment in the UK, driving job creation and investment in a rapidly emerging technology area.

GATEway is one of several projects taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Lab at Greenwich - an open, real world, test environment for connected and automated vehicles. It is one of three projects awarded by Innovate UK under its ‘Introducing driverless cars to UK roads’ competition.

See more at: or follow @GATEway_TRL

TRL is the global centre for innovation in transport and mobility. It provides world-leading research, technology and software solutions for surface transport modes and related markets of automotive, motorsport, insurance and energy.

Independent from government, industry and academia, TRL helps organisations create global transport systems that are safe, clean, affordable, liveable and efficient. Core areas of expertise include transport safety; vehicle engineering & simulation; investigations & major incident forensics; human factors & behavioural science; intelligent transport systems; infrastructure asset management; and sustainability & climate change.

Established in 1933 within the British Government as the UK's transport research laboratory, TRL was subsequently privatised in 1996. Today, TRL has more than 1,000 clients across 145 countries, driving positive societal and economic benefit worldwide.

More information can be found at

London Transport Museum: London Transport Museum is situated in the heart of Covent Garden and filled with stunning exhibits; the Museum explores the powerful link between transport and the growth of modern London, culture and society since 1800. Historic vehicles, world-famous posters and the very best objects from the Museum’s extraordinary collection are brought together to tell the story of London’s development and the part transport played in defining the unique identity of the city. The Museum is an educational and heritage preservation charity. Its purpose is to conserve and explain the history of London’s transport, to offer people an understanding of the Capital’s past development and to engage them in the debate about its future. The Museum’s charity number is 1123122.

Travel to London Transport Museum:

Address: Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB

The nearest stations to London Transport Museum are:

o Underground: Leicester Square, Charing Cross, Embankment and Covent Garden

o Bus: Strand or Aldwych

o National Rail: Charing Cross and Waterloo

o Boat: Embankment or Westminster piers

Public information:

Talks & events bookings: +44 (0)20 7565 7298

Switchboard: +44 (0)20 7379 6344 - general information

 24 hour information: +44 (0)20 7565 7299