Milton Keynes hosts autonomous vehicle trial

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The Aurrigo Auto-Shuttle operated a city centre loop during November. AURRIGO

Milton Keynes has been selected to trial a new self-driving shuttle as part of the Europe-wide LivingLAPT research project that will be the longest and most geographically complex of its kind. The project is being funded by EIT Urban Mobility and led by University College London (UCL).

The Aurrigo autonomous Auto-Shuttle uses five LIDAR sensors and seven cameras to create a full 360-degree view, but will also have an operator on board, capable of taking control at any time. The trial follows similar trials of the vehicle in Prague and Brno in the Czech Republic in 2023 and in Helmond, Hasselt, Kongberg and Ricany in 2022. However, in Milton Keynes the shuttle was expected to navigate multiple stops and carriageways for a far longer period.

Operated by the UK-based transport technology specialist Aurrigo, the fully accessible electric shuttle can carry up to 15 passengers, and operated throughout November operating on a city centre loop. The shuttle was monitored by UCL whose research team will be talking with users to find out how the service can be developed to meet passenger needs.

“Once again, Milton Keynes is at the forefront of a new, sustainable technology trial,” said Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability. “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. We’ll work alongside University College London to ensure everyone benefits from the data they gather.”

Bani Anvar, Professor of Intelligent Mobility & Lead of LivingLAPT at UCL, added: “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. This 25-minute ride in Milton Keynes, where these self-driving vehicles seamlessly navigate complex city intersections, traffic signals, and diverse road users, is an exciting blend of cutting-edge science and automotive innovation.”

“Aurrigo is pleased to be returning to Milton Keynes to move the game on in autonomous electric vehicle deployments in real-world situations. We have worked in the city since 2018 and we appreciate working with a forward thinking, innovative city that is keen to demonstrate the benefits that can be brought to citizens of Milton Keynes and across the UK by a self-driving electric vehicle like the Auto-Shuttle,” concluded Aurrigo CEO David Keene.