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Milton Keynes city centre hosts self-driving shuttle trial

24 November 2023
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The Auto-Shuttle vehicle - picture contributed
The Auto-Shuttle vehicle - picture contributed

Milton Keynes is the location for a trial this month (November) of a self-driving shuttle vehicle - part of the LivingLAPT project funded by EIT Urban Mobility and led by University College London (UCL).

Aurrigo International is returning to the town to test its Auto-Shuttle vehicle on a 25-minute loop connecting Santander’s new UK headquarters at Unity place with centre:mk, the theatre district and station square.

READ MORE: A great day out for Aurrigo as it takes its self-driving cars to Northumberland

It comes nine years after the company, which employs nearly 100 people at its engineering centre in Coventry, first deployed its 4-seater driverless pods in the city.

"We are delighted to be returning to Milton Keynes to move the game on in autonomous electric vehicle deployments in real-world situations," said CEO of Aurrigo International, David Keene.
 
"The city was one of the first to work with us on trialling driverless vehicles in 2014 and we appreciate working with a forward-thinking location that is keen to demonstrate the benefits that can be brought to the citizens of Milton Keynes and the UK by a self-driving electric vehicle like ours."

Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, cabinet member for climate action and sustainability, added: "Once again, Milton Keynes is at the forefront of a new, sustainable technology trial.

"We’ve proven again and again that the city is a brilliant destination for technology leaders to develop their plans into real world solutions.

"This important research into self-driving vehicles on public roads is creating a template for cities around the world to follow."

The Auto-Shuttle can carry up to eight passengers, uses five lidar sensors and seven cameras to create a full 360-degree view. It will have an operator on board, capable of taking control at any time.

UCL’s research team will be in the city to monitor the trials and take feedback from users.

The Europe-wide research trials have already been operating in Prague and Brno in the Czech Republic and are the longest and most geographically complex of their kind.

Bani Anvari, professor of intelligent mobility and lead of LivingLAPT at UCL, said: "Our European journey is pushing the boundaries of autonomous vehicles, aiming to reduce the need for human safety operators while fine-tuning the intricate balance of safety and trust.

"Pioneering research into the workload assessment of teleoperators stationed at control centres, has further enriched our activities."

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Giles Gwinnett is a writer at The Business Magazine. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and covered a vast array of topics at a range of media settings - in print and online. After his NCTJ newspaper training, he became a reporter in Hampshire before moving to a news agency in Gloucestershire. In recent years, he has been covering the financial markets along with company news for an investor-focused web portal. His many interests include politics, energy and the environment. He lives in Dorset.

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