As part of trials underway in Solihull in the UK, a state-of-the-art self-driving shuttle bus will take to the roads around Birmingham Airport over the next six weeks. The trial is part of a council-led project to test how Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) might be integrated into the area’s local transport network in the future.

The zero emissions self-driving shuttle was initially demoed at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) last Autumn, where it operated autonomously on Solihull roads for the first time, while carrying carrying passengers.

This latest deployment will see the shuttle, which will be limited to a top speed of 20 mph, transporting passengers around a longer and more complex route at the airport, while interacting with other road users. The trial route will provide airport staff with a new temporary service linking the departures entrance to one of the car parks. As well as airport staff the bus will also be available for members of the public to use.

Nick Barton, Chief Executive, Birmingham Airport said: “Autonomous technology promises enormous benefits to airports and the service companies that support them, with the potential to transform the way we work and improve efficiency and safety, for passengers, staff and other airport users.
“We are really excited to be working with Solihull Council on this trial, which will provide us with invaluable insight into how we can start to safely incorporate CAVs into our vehicle fleet. This trial of fully electric vehicles, and testing their capabilities on site, is making sure we are working towards our net zero carbon target by 2033.”

The success of this trial at Birmingham Airport will provide further knowledge and experience of self-driving vehicles in a real-world environment providing the evidence to support the technology being rolled out at scale across Solihull in the future.

Describing his delight at working with Solihull council and Birmingham Airport, Miles Garner, Sales and Marketing Director at autonomous shuttle manufacturer, Aurrigo, added: “Aviation is a major opportunity for Aurrigo, with a genuine desire to find new technologies that can improve the passenger experience. This could be through our driver-less shuttles, our Auto-Sim modelling software or it could be through our Auto-Dolly cargo/luggage dolly that can replace the traditional tugs that are commonplace in airports all over the world.

“We’ve recently completed projects at Changi Airport in Singapore and Gerald R. Ford International in North America, putting the UK on the global map for autonomous technology deployment.”

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