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Solihull are one of the country’s technology trailblazers

todaySeptember 23, 2021

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Solihull has become one of the first places in the UK to see driverless vehicles take to its roads as part of new ground-breaking passenger trials. 

 

Securing funds from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, Solihull Council has become the first local authority in the country to purchase its own Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) from Coventry-based Aurrigo, which it will trial at the NEC over the next four weeks.

 

The vehicle will be used as a shuttle which can carry up to eight passengers and uses a suite of sensors to understand its surroundings, allowing it to move around safely, interacting with live traffic with little or no operator input. For the trial, in line with current UK legislation, a safety operator will be on board at all times, who will have the ability to take control of the shuttle if required.

 

The trial at the NEC will see the shuttle operate autonomously along a one-mile pre-mapped section of Pendigo Way between Hall 5 and Resorts World.

 

Cllr Ken Hawkins, the cabinet portfolio holder for environment & infrastructure, said: “CAV technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas as well as transport goods.

 

“The results of our trials will provide learning on future mobility services and highway infrastructure design across all future development sites within Solihull and the wider region, including integration with the HS2 Interchange at Arden Cross.”

 

Those behind the project are encouraging anyone who wants to take part and experience one of the first fully self-driving shuttles in the UK to book a free ride. You can check availability and book your ride here.

 

The project is inviting organisations from around the Solihull area to make contact if they are interested in learning more about the technology and potentially host a trial themselves at some point over the coming 18 months. Further information is available at: www.solihull.gov.uk/CAVTrials.

 

Written by: David Watkins

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