An autonomous vehicle, or driverless shuttle, is being trialled at a UK airport for the first time.
Birmingham Airport is trialling an Auto-Shuttle that can carry 10 people on roads around the airport.
The shuttle is self-driving on normal roads with live traffic.
The trial is on a specific route that will provide airport staff with a new temporary service linking the Departures entrance and Diamond House to Car Park 5.
For the purposes of testing, the shuttle will be limited to a top speed of 20mph.
The futuristic looking Auto-Shuttle uses a suite of sensors, including LiDAR, to understand its surroundings and move around safely.
In line with current legislation a safety operator will be on-board at all times, who will have the ability to take control of the shuttle at any point if required.
As well as airport staff the passenger trials will also be open to members of the public who want to experience one of the first fully self-driving shuttles in the UK.
Passengers can book their ride by going to: www.solihull.gov.uk/cavtrials
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, whilst carrying passengers along a pre-mapped route.
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.
The Auto-Shuttle is running at Birmingham Airport for the next six weeks.
Birmingham is the UK’s seventh busiest airport with over 12 million passengers in 2019 (before COVID).
The autonomous shuttle is designed and made by a local company – Coventry-based Aurrigo.
The Auto-Shuttle is owned by Solihull Council.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council:
“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.
“This project is all about looking at how we can practically and safely start to incorporate autonomous vehicles into our future transport infrastructure.
“Already one of the best connected destinations in the UK and Europe, Birmingham Airport is the perfect place to trial our shuttle, providing the CAV with a busy, but controlled environment in which to gain further real world operating experience.”