Autonomous shuttle trial underway at Birmingham Airport

A state-of-the-art self-driving shuttle is being trialled to transport passengers on the roads around Birmingham Airport. Pictured are: Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council; Nick Barton, Chief Executive, Birmingham Airport; and Henriette Breukelaar, Director of Economic Strategy at the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

A state-of-the-art self-driving shuttle is being trialled to transport passengers on the roads around Birmingham Airport. It is the latest phase in a project that aims to test how Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) might be integrated into the local transport network in the future.

Designed and manufactured by Aurrigo, the zero-emission Auto-Shuttle can carry up to 10 passengers and uses a suite of sensors, including LiDAR, to understand its surroundings and move around safely.

“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,” said Nick Barton, Chief Executive, Birmingham Airport. “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 onsite, is making sure we are working towards our net zero carbon target by 2033.”

For the purposes of testing during the six-week trial, the shuttle will be limited to a top speed of 20mph. In line with current legislation a safety operator will be onboard at all times, who will have the ability to take control of the shuttle at any point if required. As well as airport staff, the passenger trials will also be open to members of the public who want to experience one of the first fully self-driving shuttles in the UK.

“We are delighted to be working with Solihull Council again to deliver another milestone, with Birmingham Airport becoming the first ever airport to test our autonomous shuttles on their roads,” said Miles Garner, Sales & Marketing Director at autonomous shuttle manufacturer Aurrigo. “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 driverless 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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