Aurrigo, a designer, developer, and builder of autonomous vehicles, has sold an Auto-Shuttle to Solihull Council in the UK. The £250,000 (US$339,000) fully autonomous and electric vehicle will be part of ground-breaking passenger trials currently being delivered at the National Exhibition Center (NEC).
The trails at the NEC, backed by funds from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), sees the Auto-Shuttle operate autonomously along a one-mile pre-mapped section of Pendigo Way between Hall 5 and Resorts World. Aurrigo expects the shuttle to cater for more than 1,000 people during a four-week period.
Cllr Ken Hawkins, environment and infrastructure portfolio at Solihull Council, said, “Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas as well as transport goods. This trial is all about looking at how we can practically and safely start to incorporate autonomous vehicles into our future transport infrastructure.”
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.
Once the NEC trial is complete, the Auto-Shuttle could then be used to support other first and last mile transport opportunities in and around Solihull, including possibly being used at the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Miles Garner, sales and marketing director at Aurrigo, said, “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. The trials at the NEC have generated significant interest and the overwhelming reaction from eventgoers, workers and the public has been very positive.”
Hawkins concluded, “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,” he added.
Lead image: (L-R) Councilor Ken Hawkins (cabinet portfolio holder for environment and infrastructure at Solihull Council), Gary Masters (NEC campus general manager), Chris Lane (head of transport innovation at TfWM) and Ewa Truchanowicz (GBSLEP board director).