A Council led project to make future public transport even more green and efficient for users by utilising autonomous vehicles has been recognised with a prestigious award from the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT).
Working in partnership with Transport for West Midlands, Solihull Council’s autonomous vehicle initiative has enabled a series of ground-breaking passenger trials to take place around the planned HS2 interchange using a fully electric self-driving shuttle. The trials are providing evidence for the commercial viability of replacing carbon-intensive, single-occupancy vehicles with new forms of future-proofed, affordable and low-carbon mass transport systems on our current road network.
As part of their Spring Conference last week, the achievements of its members and partners were celebrated at ADEPT’s annual President’s Awards. Recognising a wide range of collaborative and innovative projects from across the country, Solihull Council picked up the top award in the ‘Delivering Clean Growth’ category which was presented by Baroness Vere, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport. Commenting on Solihull’s winning entry the judges said that not only did this project address all the criteria but that it was also ‘applicable to others and provides opportunities for greater learning’
Last year, Solihull Council became the first local authority in the country to purchase its own fully electric autonomous shuttle using money from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP). Designed and manufactured by Coventry’s Aurrigo, the futuristic looking Auto-Shuttle can carry up to ten passengers and uses a suite of sensors, including LiDAR, to understand its surroundings and move around safely.
The zero emissions shuttle has been used in a series of successful passenger trials at both the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and Birmingham Airport, where both residents and visitors to the borough have had the chance to try out this new technology.
The Council will continue to work with other organisations in its programme of self-driving transport development. The aim is to provide commercially viable self-driving vehicles to enable people to move around the borough using low carbon, efficient vehicles.
Councillor Ken Hawkins, Environment & Infrastructure Portfolio, Solihull Council, said:
“Autonomous vehicle technology has the potential revolutionise the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas. It could also be the future of transporting goods. This project is all about looking at how we can practically and safely start to incorporate autonomous vehicles into our existing road network.
“It’s fantastic to be recognised for the truly pioneering work we are doing in this area. Winning this award, especially in such a strong field up against so many other brilliant projects, is testament to the hard work of our project team and our partners who are helping us to deliver it.
“We are leading the way in Solihull, regionally and across the UK by providing real world evidence of how this technology can be used in different settings and scenarios.”