Aurrigo is providing an autonomous shuttle for golfers and caddies at the ISPS Handa Wales Open, a major golfing event running from August 20-23. The Coventry-based autonomous vehicle developer says that the participants being transported by an autonomous vehicle at a live event will be a world-first for any sporting occasion.
The shuttle, which can carry up to 12 people, has been redesigned specifically for the tournament to follow all Covid-19 rules, with three twin-bench seats able to carry a golfer and their caddie 2m apart. A touchless sanitiser unit is available as passengers enter the vehicle and gloves and masks will be available for additional protection.
Lidar, cameras and inertial navigation technology guide the vehicle on its journey and a partnership with Vodafone provides the 4G real-time data connectivity via their cellular communications network. The data can then be viewed by the Aurrigo fleet management system to remotely monitor and track the vehicles.
Aurrigo, which operates from its Advanced Centre of Engineering in Coventry, has been developing the shuttle for the last two years since it was appointed to be part of the UK government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) Smart Cambridge T-CABS project to deliver the UK’s first autonomous bus route.
The shuttle is constructed from high strength composite materials to create a lightweight, efficient vehicle structure offering a range of up to 124 miles on a single charge using a 96V lithium power pack coupled with a 22kW electric motor.
David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo, commented, “This is a really exciting milestone for our business and this technology, as it will be the first time ever in the world that sportspeople will be carried by an autonomous vehicle at a live event. Our engineering team will be based at the Celtic Manor Resort to oversee the shuttle’s operations, which will be running for the duration of the ISPS Handa Wales Open. In total, we expect to make over 100 driverless journeys.”
Before Covid-19, it was expected to seat 12 people and has the option to safely accommodate wheelchair passengers.
Anne Sheehan, director at Vodafone UK, said, “It’s fantastic to see our leading connectivity playing a pivotal role in making this event happen. We’re always looking at ways in which our technology can overcome the challenges brought about by Covid-19.”
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean concluded, “This is a global-first for the sporting world and I’m excited to see how this technology develops as we look to secure the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator.
“Self-driving vehicle technology is crucial for the transport revolution happening today in the UK, which is why milestones such as this are so important – helping to make everyday journeys greener, safer, more flexible and more reliable.”
Here is the Aurrigo shuttle in action …