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UK's first driverless pod trial demonstrates last-mile potential

Pod transport service had been ferrying local people, shoppers and visitors in the city

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The Aurrigo self-driving pods are capable of travelling up to 15 miles per hour
The Aurrigo self-driving pods are capable of travelling up to 15 miles per hour

The UK’s largest self-driving vehicle trial of “first and last mile” shuttle pods in Milton Keynes has concluded after seven months.

 

Aurrigo’s self-driving pods have been undergoing trials on pavements in the city as part of the UK Autodrive project where the transport solution has been pitched at local people, shoppers and visitors.

 

Crucial link to CAV

 

The pods also provided a crucial link to the connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) in the project’s ‘grand finale’, enabling what is thought to be the world’s first demonstration of multi-CAV vehicles completing an end-to-end journey in the UK.

 

“We are thrilled to have seen the successful demonstration of the technology here in Milton Keynes. What we have seen is the potential for this technology to develop into a full-blown public transport service,” said Brian Matthews, head of transport innovation at Milton Keynes Council.

 

“This is important to us because, we want to have the ability to provide first and last mile mobility options that can help people get about their business in an efficient and safe way and giving improved travel options for those who cannot drive or might find it difficult to use buses, cycles or have difficulty walking.”

 

Up to 15 pods – capable of travelling up to 15 miles per hour and lasting up to 60 miles from one charge – have been operating in the city centre from Central Railway Station. There are plans for the pods to continue to operate in the city, with a service being offered to residents in the near future.

"What we have seen is the potential for this technology to develop into a full-blown public transport service”

“Being involved as one of the lead partners in UK Autodrive has transformed our business and given us the opportunity to test our technology alongside some of the world’s largest manufacturers in Jaguar Land Rover and Tata,” added Mile Garner, sales and marketing director at Aurrigo.

 

“We need to take advantage of being first to market and we are already in discussions with a number of potential customers to take our pods for use on University campuses, theme parks, shopping malls and retirement villages. The potential is huge and we are projecting increases in turnover that could reach £100m over the next three years.”

 

UK Autodrive, which is funded by Innovate UK, is a three-year project that trialled the use of connected and self-driving vehicles on the streets of Milton Keynes and Coventry. Members of the UK Autodrive consortium include the Transport Systems Catapult, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford Tata Motors and RDM Group. Aurrigo is the autonomous vehicle division of the RDM Group.

 

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