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Driverless shuttle bus trial runs in Birmingham


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Trials of a driverless shuttle bus using a suite of sensors to assess its surroundings have begun on a route by the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham.

Solihull Council has become the first local authority in the country to purchase a fully electric autonomous shuttle from Aurrigo.

It has been funded by the West Midlands Combine Authority (WMCA) under its UK Central investment programme and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

The shuttle will run on a one-mile route near the NEC, carry up to eight passengers and, for the purposes of the trial, have a safety operator onboard.

WMCA said the trial will provide details of how self-driving vehicles perform and could lay the ground for wider use around Solihull in the future.

Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The region is at the cutting edge of the development of CAV (connected autonomous vehicle) technology and this real world trial offers an excellent opportunity to understand the role autonomous vehicles can play in our transport system.

“This technology has the potential to change the way we travel and will no doubt become a key part of our future transport system.

“On top of that, this emerging high value sector in research and manufacturing is already playing an increasingly important role in the green industrial revolution happening right here in the West Midlands.”

The trial began last week and is scheduled to run for a month.

Image from West Midlands Combined Authority

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