WORKERS at Birmingham Business Park have been ferried around in self-driving shuttle buses in the latest round of on-road trials.
Throughout March Solihull Council have put the Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) to the test on how safely and seamlessly they can be integrated into the borough’s transport network in the future.
The current trials will be used to establish a route between Birmingham International railway station and Birmingham Business Park through the NEC using a new fleet of new vehicles.
Lori Henebury, marketing, community and business development manager at Birmingham Business Park said: “Operating in a busy, but controlled environment, we hope these latest trials will help to provide even morel real world operating experience which can be used to further improve efficiency and safety for passengers.
“We are really excited to be working with Solihull Council on this, and to gain valuable insight into ways we may be able to further improve our site access and transport links, while also working towards our net zero carbon ambitions.”
In 2021 Solihull Council became the first local authority in the country to purchase its own electric and fully autonomous shuttle, using a grant from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).
Since then, successful passenger trials have been carried out at both Birmingham Airport and the NEC, where the shuttle was also used in the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay.
Designed and manufactured by Coventry’s Aurrigo, the futuristic looking Auto-Shuttle can carry up to ten passengers and uses a suite of sensors, including LiDAR, to understand its surroundings and move around safely.
For the purposes of testing, the shuttle will be limited to a top speed of 20mph. In line with current legislation, a safety operator will be on-board at all times, and will be able to take control of the shuttle at any point if required.
Councillor Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said: “We’ve already carried out a series of successful pathfinder trials here in Solihull which are showing how it is possible, taking a safety-first approach, to practically and start incorporating autonomous vehicles into our future transport infrastructure.”
The trials are open to business park employees and residents – to book a trip click here.
The CAV will be running at Birmingham Business Park until the end of March.