Autonomous vehicle technology company Aurrigo has announced its participation in the Living Lab for Autonomous Public Transport (LivingLAPT).
The project benefits from EU funding and will run across the European cities of Prague, Brno and Milton Keynes. It will see Aurrigo’s Auto-Shuttle vehicles run with a safety driver on board, while working toward a goal of using remote supervisor monitoring, signalling a new era in autonomy in public transportation.
The project is a collaboration between industry, operators, cities and University College London.
“LivingLAPT will deliver sustainable driverless shuttle and logistics services among various European cities by phasing out the need for safety drivers in shuttles and moving toward remote operators who overlook a number of services simultaneously,” said Bani Anvari, professor of intelligent mobility at University College London.
“This will be achieved through a robust transnational safety framework as well as promoting user acceptance and trust in close collaboration with citizens, cities, operators, academia, industry and policymakers.”
By working with multiple cities in more than one country, the participants are gaining experience from different types of street layouts, road conditions and public attitudes to autonomy. This phase of the project will also examine integration with trip planning applications used in those cities.
“Although we work all over the world, this is the first Auto-Shuttle deployment in mainland Europe for Aurrigo, and we are delighted to be working with such a prestigious group of partners to move towards this important step in autonomous public transport,” said David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo. “The medieval, cobbled streets of Prague, built before cars or buses were dreamt of are in stark contrast to the modern roads of Milton Keynes, which shows the importance of testing in multiple cities.”
Regardless of which city it is, all metropolitan areas are facing similar challenges when it comes to reducing emissions, improving safety for all road users and enhancing infrastructure.
“Driverless shuttles or pods can be a game changer for cities as they address many of these challenges,” said Anvari. “However, current solutions lack a transferrable regulatory and safety framework among European cities. Low public acceptance in combination with high investments in the new technology are a barrier to adoption for many cities.”
Keene sees the Aurrigo Auto-Shuttle as the ideal vehicle to participate in the project. It’s technology suite brings together lidar and cameras with its own in-house developed software to give the shuttle a constant, 3D, all-weather picture of its surroundings to enhance safety and efficiency.
“The Aurrigo Auto-Shuttle is a perfect vehicle for this project, because we create the vehicle, software and autonomous driving hardware in-house, to work in perfect harmony and this level of integration is vital when breaking new ground in driverless technology.”
The Aurrigo Auto-Shuttles begin deployment on September 19, 2023.