Led by University College London (UCL), the cooperation between industry, municipalities and operators will see the autonomous vehicles operate with a safety driver on board with the aim of moving towards remote operators overlooking several services simultaneously.
Initially starting in the Czech capital, the project will also run across Brno in the Czech Republic and Milton Keynes.
It is expected that by operating in multiple cities in more than one country, the participants will gain experience from different types of street layouts, road conditions and public attitudes to autonomy. This phase of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology-funded project will also examine integration with trip planning applications used in those cities.
“This is the first Auto-Shuttle deployment in mainland Europe for Aurrigo,” said David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo International. “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.”
The Aurrigo technology suite brings together LiDAR and cameras with its own in-house developed software to give the Auto-Shuttle a constant, 3D, all-weather picture of its surroundings to enhance safety and efficiency.
Bani Anvari, Professor of Intelligent Mobility at University College London, said: “Cities face challenges such as reducing emissions, improving the safety and mobility of cyclists or pedestrians and increasing quality of life for citizens.
“Driverless shuttles or pods can be a game changer for cities as they address many of these challenges. However, current solutions lack a transferrable regulatory and safety framework among European cities. Low public acceptance, in combination with high investments in the new technology - including insurance and safety driver - are a barrier to adoption for many cities.”