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Aurrigo named as lead partner in £3.2m project, to get ‘Cambridge’ to run the UK’s first Autonomous Shuttle Service

Autonomous Driverless Bus comes to Cambridge with Aurrigo

Cambridge is on way to become the first UK City to run a fully automated transport service thanks to a £3.2 million government funded grant announced this week.

Driverless Technology Company Aurrigo the autonomous vehicle division of RDM Group has teamed up with Smart Cambridge- a partnership between Cambridgeshire County Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership, to complete the government funded development project to take Cambridge’s public transport system ahead of the game.

The multi-million grant from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) will enable Aurrigo to develop their existing tested 4 and 8 seater Pod Zero to a 15 seater shuttle which will run on the existing guided bus route which runs into the city centre.


Aurrigo already tested 4 seater Pod Zero
Aurrigo already tested 4 seater Pod Zero

The route infrastructure already set up, which currently runs the guided Park and Ride services, is the perfect pathway to lead the way to the future self drive bus services.

The trials will start testing on the Cambridge guided bus route at night time, when the current bus service closes down. Aurrigo has already run a trial on the route in Cambridge last year with their 4 seat Pod.

Dr Richard Fairchild, Director of Autonomous Mobility Programmes at Aurrigo said, “Based on our Pod Zero concept, the shuttle will be the first time we will have built a vehicle that can seat 10 to 15 people. We are hoping this will change people’s thinking and prove the viability of autonomous vehicles for moving groups of passengers over short distances.”

The initial route will run on Trumpington Park and Ride which accesses the Cambridge Biomedical Campus site, Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospital including the new AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company which welcomes the potential outcome of the service.

Dr Fairchild countined, “Working in partnership with Smart Cambridge, we will be creating a cost-effective and efficient service that will benefit shift workers, weekend shoppers and revellers in the City. It also gives us a fantastic platform to showcase the UK as a leader in the design and engineering of autonomous technology.”

The guided busway is segregated from general traffic and, therefore, offers a unique opportunity to safely trial autonomous vehicles running past major residential and employment sites.”

“Mid-sized self-driving shuttles running over relatively short distances could be a key part of that, especially as they could whizz back and forwards in the early mornings, late evenings, throughout the night and at weekends, when other forms of public transport are less active.”

Aurrigo impression of the 10-15 seater Pod to run on the service to Cambridge in 2020
Aurrigo impression of the 10-15 seater Pod to run on the service to Cambridge in 2020

“The first trial was last year, and it’s very exciting that we can now move forward to further work on developing the shuttles. In time, I hope we can consider rolling them out elsewhere in the City and South Cambridgeshire, where the strategy supports that.”


The Driverless Pods

  • Reduce operators labour costs as no driver is required
  • Carbon neutral transportation with zero emissions
  •  Safer travel for passengers and surrounding pedestrians
  •  No dedicated route infrastructure required
  • The pods can be used to provide advertising opportunities with external graphics and internal display screens
  • Sync to an app for optimum flexibility

Aurrigo’s autonomous shuttles will be designed and built to accommodate wheelchairs, mobility scooters and bicycles. They will run at 30-40 mph and can operate for up to 100 miles on a single charge.

Cambridgeshire council hope to have testing vehicles running by April 2019 when the first shuttle will be engineered and ready for prototype testing with services running for the public by 2020.

If successful, self-driving vehicles could then be rolled-out elsewhere round Greater Cambridge.

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