The good people of Taunton, Somerset, were treated to rides in Aurrigo’s self-driving Auto-Pod and Auto-Shuttle as The Great Self-Driving Exploration continued this week.
Run by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), and research specialist BritainThinks, a similar trial took place at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland in June.
Lucy Bush, Research Director at BritainThinks, explained: “It offers an opportunity to understand what people think of self-driving vehicles as they are now, and also their expectations for the future.
“This will provide crucial insight to government and industry to support the development of self-driving technology that benefits everyone across the UK.”
At Cars of the Future, we’ve been following Coventry-based Aurrigo since 2019, when it partnered with Blind Veterans UK for the world’s first driverless trial involving disabled people.
For this event, it supplied three different vehicles:
On the left, the ten-seater Auto-Shuttle is the first road legal vehicle to be manufactured by the Group. It can operate fully autonomously or be driven manually.
In the middle is the Auto-Deliver, a one-off prototype designed for home deliveries.
On the right is the four-seater Auto-Pod, designed for non-road passenger transportation, such as airports, university campuses and care communities.
At Taunton, the Auto-Pod operated at the picturesque Vivary Park, close to the town centre, while the Auto-Shuttle ran at Somerset County Cricket Club, where the Auto-Deliver was also on display.
At Alnwick, the Auto-Shuttle took passengers from the bus station up to the castle – a 1.2km route shared with cars, bikes and pedestrians – while the Auto-Pod carried passengers on a shared 500m path between the castle and Alnwick Gardens.
Ricky Raines, Operations Manager at Aurrigo, said: “We believe these types of first and last miles transport will be key to supporting people with mobility issues.
“These events are extremely useful in helping understand how individuals in rural locations feel about self-driving technology.”
Further afield, also in September, Aurrigo had a Pod at the joint Department for Transport (DfT) and Innovate UK stand at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress 2022 in Los Angeles.