This is the latest phase in a council-led project which aims to test out how Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) might be integrated into the borough’s transport network in the future.
Last year, Solihull Council became the first local authority in the country to purchase its own fully electric autonomous shuttle using a grant 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 10 passengers and uses a suite of sensors, including LiDAR, to understand its surroundings and move around safely.
The zero emissions self-driving shuttle was initially demoed at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) last Autumn, where it operated autonomously on Solihull roads for the first time.
In this latest deployment the shuttle will be used to transport passengers around a longer and much more complex route at Birmingham Airport while again interacting with other road users.
Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said: ‘CAV technology has the potential revolutionise the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas as well as transport goods.
‘I’m excited to be the first council in the country to purchase our very own zero-emission, road-legal, shared use Connected Autonomous Vehicle and we are keen to put it to use.’
Nick Barton, chief executive, Birmingham Airport, commented: ‘Autonomous technology promises enormous benefits to airports and the service companies that support them, with the potential to transform the way we work and improve efficiency and safety, for passengers, staff and other airport users.
‘We are really excited to be working with Solihull Council on this trial, which will provide us with invaluable insight into how we can start to safely incorporate CAVs into our vehicle fleet. This trial of fully electric vehicles, and testing their capabilities on site, is making sure we are working towards our net zero carbon target by 2033.’