UK-made driverless shuttle bus debut on Prague streets to test public attitudes to autonomous public transport
Aurrigo International, a Coventry-headquartered company that specialises in driverless pods and shuttle buses, is introducing its transportation technology to mainland Europe for the first time after the company’s Auto-Shuttle vehicle made its debut in Prague as part of the €305,000 (£263,000) LivingLAPT project, which is supported by the European Union.
The Auto-Shuttle is a 10-seat electric passenger vehicle with the unique capability to operate autonomously or be manually driven. This innovative vehicle represents Aurrigo International’s first road-legal product and has been designed to offer cost-effective public transportation solutions in areas that may have previously lacked adequate service. It serves a versatile range of purposes, including providing airport shuttle services for passengers moving to and from terminals, and offering VIP and crew transport on the airside.
Initially, the Prague shuttle will have a human driver on board, with plans to transition to remote monitoring in the future. The LivingLAPT project is led by University College London (UCL) and is set to expand its operations to Brno, another city in the Czech Republic, as well as Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom.
The deployment of these shuttles in various locations will provide valuable insights into their performance under diverse conditions, including different street layouts, road conditions, and public perceptions of autonomous vehicles.
Aurrigo International chief executive David Keene said: “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. The medieval, cobbled streets of Prague – built before cars or buses were even dreamt of – are in stark contrast to the modern roads of Milton Keynes, which shows the importance of testing in multiple cities.
“Our 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 project, which is funded by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT), hopes to build trust in autonomous driving, with safety at its core. The vehicles use 3D LiDAR mapping and cameras to provide an all-weather picture of the surroundings.