SOLIHULL’S cutting-edge work on driverless cars was showcased when Transport Minister Trudy Harrison visited the borough.
Ms Harrison was joined by Leader of Solihull Council Councillor Ian Courts, cabinet member for environment and infrastructure Coun Ken Hawkins and bosses from ZF Hub an automotive company based in Blythe Valley Park to discuss the work being carried out with Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and the future of the technology.
The Minister then travelled to Birmingham Airport, where she took part in a demonstration on Solihull Council’s own autonomous shuttle.
The shuttle, manufactured by Coventry-based manufacturer Aurrigo, can carry up to ten 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.
Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, has responsibility for the decarbonisation of travel and the future of transport, including the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles as part of her portfolio.
She said: “It was a pleasure to be in Solihull and see first-hand some of the innovative work that’s being done here to enhance the future of UK transport.
“Self-driving technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas, while improving road safety by reducing accidents involving human error.
“It’s great to see the Council taking proactive steps in the deployment and testing of this emerging technology which is creating high-skilled jobs across the region while supporting our ambitious transport decarbonisation targets.”
Last year, Solihull Council became the first local authority in the country to purchase its own fully electric autonomous shuttle with funds secured from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).
In September 2021, Solihull saw driverless vehicles taking to its roads as part of new trials of the shuttle at the NEC.
The shuttles are set to be used at Birmingham Airport in the second part of the trial.