The council has secured funds, with autonomous technology provider Conigital, for a pioneering development project which will see automated shuttles ferrying passengers between the station and the business park through the NEC Birmingham, seeking to establish a new permanent commercial route.
The proposed route forms a key part of a wider project being overseen by a regional consortium led by Conigital. The Multi-Area Connected Automated Mobility (MACAM) project will also see a similar route rolled out between Coventry rail station and Coventry University campus.
The two new routes will be served by a mixed fleet of 13 automated shuttles and underpinned by a new centralised, Remote Monitoring Teleoperation (RMTO) centre operated by Transport for West Midlands.
The RMTO centre will be used to monitor the project’s automated vehicles and (when required) control them, using 5G connectivity. The landmark project aims to make self-driving vehicle operations commercially viable and offset current technology and operator costs.
As part of the Conigital led MACAM project in the West Midlands, Solihull Council is expected to receive £279,260 of grant-funding to include revenue for project managing vehicle deployment within Solihull, as well as capital funds for installing roadside technology to allow effective operation of the vehicles.
Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said: ‘Connected Automated Vehicle (CAV) technology has the potential revolutionise the way we get around, as well as how we transport goods. Working with our partners we are excited to be leading the way, not just in Solihull, but regionally and across the country, in providing learning on CAV deployments in different setting and scenarios.’