The UK’s leading authority on autonomous transport has secured a ‘local authority’ first after it sold an Auto-Shuttle to Solihull Council.
Aurrigo, which designs, develops and builds a host of autonomous vehicles at its Advanced Engineering Centre, has supplied the £250,000 fully autonomous and electric shuttle as part of ground-breaking passenger trials currently being delivered at the NEC, Birmingham.
Carrying up to eight passengers, the vehicle uses a suite of sensors to understand its surroundings, allowing it to move around safely, interacting with live traffic with little or no operator input.
The testing at the NEC, backed by funds from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), sees it operate autonomously along a one-mile pre-mapped section of Pendigo Way between Hall 5 and Resorts World and expects to cater for more than 1,000 people during the four-week period.
Once complete, the Auto-Shuttle could then be used to support other ‘first and last mile’ transport opportunities in and around Solihull, and could possibly be used during the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Miles Garner, Aurrigo sales and marketing director, said: “This is another important milestone in our journey, with the first Auto-Shuttle successfully sold to a local authority in the UK.
“Solihull Council is at the forefront of developing new transport solutions in a bid to leverage its unique location in the heart of the country and connected autonomous vehicles are seen as a major priority.”
He continued: “The trials at the NEC have generated significant interest and the overwhelming reaction from event-goers, workers and the general public has been very positive. 2021 is set to be our best-ever year with orders coming in from across the UK and overseas for our Auto-Shuttle, our four-seater Auto-Pod and the autonomous Auto-Dolly for use in carrying luggage and cargo around airports.”
Councillor Ken Hawkins, Environment and Infrastructure Portfolio at Solihull Council, said: “Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas as well as transporting goods. This trial is all about looking at how we can practically and safely start to incorporate autonomous vehicles into our future transport infrastructure.”
He added: “Already one of the best-connected destinations in the UK and Europe, the NEC is the perfect place to trial the Auto-Shuttle, and look at how it can be used to improve first and last mile passenger experience.
“Alongside the obvious environmental benefits, this is an excellent example of how smart technology could be used to cut congestion and improve public transport.
“The results of our trials will provide learning on future mobility services and highway infrastructure design across all future development sites within Solihull and the wider region, including integration with the HS2 Interchange and Hub.”