Stand-alone pods, which could be used to provide driverless mass transportation, will be tested for the first time on Tuesday.
The vehicles are being tested in Bristol by the infrastructure company AECOM, which is working with partners including the Bristol Robotics Laboratory to develop autonomous vehicles.
The pods use sensors, radar and vision processing to navigate areas crowded with pedestrians, strollers and bicycles.
This will be the first test that will allow members of the public to travel to the pods without any dedicated supervisors inside, with researchers studying their reaction to autonomous transportation.
It is hoped that pods can be used in cities across the UK to move people to places, welcomed by the public using an app.
The project, called CAPRI, is comprised of 17 companies and academic institutions including the University of West England, the University of Bristol and Heathrow Airport.
The CAPRI consortium received £ 35 million from the Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), the government department set up to support the first CAV market.
George Lunt, technical director of AECOM, said: “With a range of environmental, efficiency and mobility benefits associated with connected and autonomous vehicles, the UK has great potential to enter a wide range of international markets.
“However, in order for this idea to develop fully, it is essential that the public is on board and has the opportunity to experience a mobility service that can potentially transform the way they travel,” he added.
Tests on open public roads will take place later this year.