Driverless shuttles being trialled at Birmingham Airport
A driverless shuttle, owned by Solihull Council and designed and built in Coventry, made its debut in the grounds of a UK airport for the first time this week.
Aurrigo, which employs over 70 people at its Advanced Engineering Centre, will deploy its 10-seater Auto-Shuttle alongside live traffic on the roads of Birmingham Airport.
The company has mapped out a route that will initially transport staff from the Departures entrance and Diamond House to Car Park 5, with the potential for the trial to be extended to passengers later this month.
The zero-emissions autonomous shuttle uses a suite of sensors, including LiDAR, to understand its surroundings and move safely around its environment.
For the purpose of testing, and in line with current legislation, a safety operator will be on-board at all times, whilst the shuttle can also be manually driven with conventional controls to give the ultimate in operational flexibility.
Nick Barton, chief executive of 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 connected autonomous vehicles 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.”
Aurrigo’s Miles Garner, noted: “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.”
He continued: “We are currently working on 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.”