A trial in Cambridge, England marks the first use of Aurrigo’s self-driving shuttles on public roads in the UK. The 10 seat shuttles will take passengers from the Madingley Road Park and Ride site to locations around the University of Cambridge’s West Campus.
Passengers recruited for the trial project will be able to use Aurrigo’s app to join the shuttle at a number of locations along the two-mile route.
The company has been instrumental in the development of autonomous pods in the UK, but the trial is the first carrying passengers on a main road surrounded by other traffic, including cars, lorries, vans, bikes and pedestrians.
The trial is part of an Innovate UK and Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV)-backed project, led by Aurrigo with Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and Smart Cambridge to explore how autonomous technology could be used on the public transport network.
“This is another major milestone in the journey towards making autonomous vehicles a reality on our roads,” said David Keene, Chief Executive Officer of Aurrigo.
“We’ve completed successful trials in city centres, in retirement complexes and at major golf tournaments, but this is the first time these vehicles will be sharing the route with everyday traffic.
“The shuttles, which have been designed and manufactured at our Advanced Engineering Centre in Coventry, will operate the 20-minute journey around the West Cambridge route. They will run autonomously for the majority of the route using our in-house developed driving software and the latest LIDAR and camera technology to identify potential hazards as they move around.”
He continued, “Our technology will help provide new transport solutions for city centres, shopping and care facilities, airports and heritage sites. The trial in Cambridge is the next step in proving it.”
Claire Ruskin, Director of Cambridge Network and business representative on the GCP Executive Board, added, “It is very exciting to see these vehicles working on real roads here in Cambridge. These shuttles could be used on demand all day and night, every day of the year – which is unaffordable with our existing public transport.
“They are flexible and make good use of resources without needing significant infrastructure. As employment around Cambridge is 24/7 for many organisations – including our hospitals, emergency services, and many of our labs – we have been anticipating this new technology to see how real operation will help people get around.”