Driverless buses help get Birmingham Airport passengers moving around - The Solihull Observer

Driverless buses help get Birmingham Airport passengers moving around

Solihull Editorial 22nd Mar, 2022   0

DRIVERLESS buses are taking Birmingham Airport passengers around the site.

For the next six weeks the auto shuttle will take people from car park five to the departures building as part of a trial.

This is the latest phase of a Council-led project which aims to test out how Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) might be integrated into the borough’s transport network in the future.

The zero emissions can carry up to ten passengers and uses a suite of sensors and will stop if it comes across any unexpected obstacles.

Last year, Solihull Council became the first local authority in the country to purchase its own fully electric autonomous shuttle using a grant from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).

The Auto-ShuttleÒ, which was designed and manufacture by Coventry’s Aurrigo, was initially demoed at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) last Autumn, where it operated autonomously on Solihull roads for the first time, whilst carrying passengers along a pre-mapped section of Pendigo Way.

In this latest deployment the shuttle, which will be limited to a top speed of 20mph, will be used to transport passengers around a longer and much more complex route at Birmingham Airport while again interacting with other road users.

In line with current legislation a safety operator will be on-board at all times, who will have the ability to take control of the shuttle if required.

Councillor Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said: “CAV technology has the potential revolutionise the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas as well as transport goods. I’m excited to be the first Council in the country to purchase our very own zero-emission, road-legal, shared use CAVs and we are keen to put it to use.

“This project is all about looking at how we can practically and safely start to incorporate autonomous vehicles into our future transport infrastructure.

“Alongside the obvious environmental benefits, this is an excellent example of how smart technology could be used to cut congestion and improve public transport.”

Henriette Breukelaar, director of economic strategy at the GBSLEP, said: “It’s fantastic to see this fully electric autonomous vehicle operating at Birmingham Airport.

“We allocated £250,000 from our Local Growth Fund into this Solihull Council-led trial as we recognise the huge potential for CAVs.”

For more or to book a space on the bus click here.


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