Solihull continues self-driving trials in Birmingham

Solihull Council’s trials of its self-driving shuttle continue this week as the vehicle moves to Birmingham Business Park. 

Part of a project to test the feasibility of using Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) into the wider transport network for the borough, the latest trial follows success at Birmingham Airport and the NEC, where the shuttle was used as part of the Commonwealth Games Queen’s baton relay.

Leader of Solihull Council, Cllr Ian Courts, 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 start incorporating autonomous vehicles into our future transport infrastructure. 

‘The results of this trial will provide further knowledge and experience of self-driving vehicles in a real-world environment, helping to inform our future mobility services and highway infrastructure design across Solihull and the wider region.’ 

Keen to be a frontrunner in the world of CAVs, the council boasts itself as the first UK local authority to purchase its own ‘electric and fully autonomous shuttle’, which is designed and manufactured by Aurrigo. 

Recently, a Multi-Area Connected Automated Mobility project was announced for the area that will see a permanent commercial route established using a new fleet of CAVs between Birmingham International railway station and Birmingham Business Park via the NEC. 

The shuttle will be transporting passengers on a pre-planned loop of the business park, limited to 20mph for testing purposes and with a safety operator on board at all times, it will be open to both business park employees and members of the public until the end of March. 

Lori Henebury, the Marketing, Community and Business Development Manager for 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.’

Visitors can book a ride on the shuttle by visiting the council’s website here.

The government has also recently positioned self-driving technology as an important aspect of the future of transport with a series of grants for initiatives across the country, including the world’s first full-sized self-driving bus service in Edinburgh and Northern Ireland’s first autonomous shuttle in Belfast.

Photo: Solihull Council


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