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‘Whale of pods’ arrive in Milton Keynes

Posted on 13 Jun 2018 and read 4021 times
‘Whale of pods’ arrive in Milton KeynesThe UK’s first ever ‘whale of pods’ have arrived in Milton Keynes and will shortly take to the pavements and streets of the town as part of UK Autodrive — the largest of three separate consortia that are currently trialling automated vehicle technology as part of a government-backed competition, and the largest ‘first and last mile’ transport trial in the world.

Coventry-based Aurrigo (www.aurrigo.com), a division of RDM Group, has now completed the pods which, after fine tuning of the autonomous control systems, will form part of the whale — the collective name for a fleet of pods — that could be completing up to 120km of journeys every day.

Richard Fairchild, director of autonomous mobility programmes at Aurrigo, said: “This latest development is another major milestone for UK Autodrive and our country’s desire to be at the forefront of new transport solutions.

"Importantly, it is also a massive breakthrough for our business, as we now not only have the autonomous technology in place but also a production line capable of being ramped up to deliver pods in low and medium volumes.”

He continued: “We have been testing the first two vehicles around Milton Keynes and there have been plenty of interested onlookers asking us questions, some of which were a lot more technical than we expected.

"Having a ‘whale of pods’ to test will deliver the data and user experience we need to turn this project from a trial into an everyday part of Milton Keynes life.”

Aurrigo has invested heavily in the development of a control centre in the town centre and has recruited the first three people to support the project as part of what will eventually be a 10-strong team.

The company now has “the presence on the ground” it requires to safely and effectively oversee the testing before it goes ‘live’ with passengers in the summer when up to 40 pods — capable of travelling up to 15mph and 60 miles on a single charge — will operate from Central Station to Campbell Park and Silbury Boulevard to Avebury Boulevard.