Nearly £2m (US$2.5m) has been secured in grant funding by Milton Keynes city council and its partners to bring advanced self-driving shuttle services to the city’s downtown. The project – named StreetCAV (connected and autonomous vehicles) – will install the necessary infrastructure and connectivity services to bring autonomous shuttles that seat multiple passengers to the UK city. Robotic and drone-based services will also be integrated to ensure a high level of safety for users.
The StreetCAV project consortium consists of Milton Keynes city council, Smart City Consultancy and several other partners. Each will provide their respective knowledge to trial the AVs before evaluating whether to roll out the technology to further UK locations.
The funding was provided by the UK government from an £18.5m pot which has been designated to bolster the UK’s automated supply chain. It is anticipated that passengers will be able to use the service from October 2024.
“Milton Keynes really is the home of innovation and we’re committed to exploring new forms of sustainable transport so local people can benefit, as well as helping other cities around the world learn how to be greener places to live and work,” explained Pete Marland, leader of MK city council.
“Demand-responsive, autonomous vehicles can help to reduce congestion, and create a cleaner environment so it’s a really exciting trial to lead on. Additionally, attracting global organizations to test these ideas in Milton Keynes also provides potential for new high-tech, high-skill jobs.”
Ian Pulford, director of Smart City Consultancy, added, “At Smart City Consultancy, we are passionate about delivering new innovations that offer opportunities to drive adoption and uptake of new autonomous services, creating jobs and delivering highly differentiated experiences for the traveling public – the StreetCAV project is designed to do just that, and our job is to ensure not only the project delivers, but that the things we achieve live on into the future, not only in Milton Keynes, but for the benefit of the UK at large.”