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Sunderland to trial 5G autonomous shuttle buses

Officials with the first autonomous bus
Delivery of the firsts SAMS autonomous shuttle
Image source: Zenic

Sunderland City Council has said that three autonomous shuttle buses, supported by 5G navigation systems, will soon begin to run between selected areas of the city.

It described the Sunderland Advanced Mobility Shuttle (SAMS) initiative as a significant milestone in the city’s move towards the use of self-driving transportation.

The SAMS projects will involve trials of three self-driving zero emission autonomous shuttles, designed by Aurrigo, transporting passengers on public roads between Sunderland Interchange, the University of Sunderland City Campus and the Sunderland Royal Hospital.

They will run along an intelligent transport corridor, enabled by 5G small cells which are being installed along the vehicle route by Boldyn Networks.

While safety operators will always be onboard, the project will develop and demonstrate a cyber secure remote supervision protocol, an important step towards commercial deployment.

Leap forward

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: "SAMS represents a significant leap forward in our efforts to embrace innovation and improve the quality of life for our residents. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this self-driving shuttle will have on urban mobility across Sunderland."

The project has been awarded £3 million by the Government and matched by industry to a total £6 million. The SAMS initiative is one of six successful CAM Deployment UK projects from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) Deployment competition.

The project is led by Sunderland City Council in partnership with Aurrigo, Stagecoach, ANGOKA, Newcastle University, Swansea University and Boldyn Networks.

It is the latest to use the 5G infrastructure within Sunderland’s Smart Cities programme.


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