Milton Keynes has been chosen as the location for trials of a brand-new self-driving shuttle.

The city has been selected as part of a major trial scheme across Europe: the LivingLAPT project.

The project is funded by EIT Urban Mobility, with University College London (UCL) leading the trial in Milton Keynes.

It follows similar successful trials in Prague and Brno in 2023, as well as previous programmes in Helmond, Hasselt, Kongberg and Ricany in 2022.

The trial is the longest and most geographically complex of its kind
Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, said:

Once again, Milton Keynes is at the forefront of a new, sustainable technology trial. We’ve proven again and again that the city is a brilliant destination for technology leaders to develop their plans into real-world solutions.

This important research into self-driving vehicles on public roads is creating a template for cities around the world to follow. We’ll work alongside University College London to ensure everyone benefits from the data they gather.

The autonomous shuttle uses five lidar sensors and seven cameras to create a complete 360-degree view of its surroundings, maintaining safe conditions during operation along public roads. An operator will be present onboard in case of any emergencies.

Operated by UK transport technology company Aurrigo, the shuttle is capable of carrying up to 15 passengers and will run a city centre loop connecting Santander’s UK HQ at Unity Place with centre:mk, the Theatre District and Station Square. UCL’s research team will be present in Milton Keynes throughout the trial.

Bani Anvar, Professor of Intelligent Mobility & Lead of LivingLAPT, UCL, said:

Our European journey is pushing the boundaries of autonomous vehicles, aiming to reduce the need for human safety operators while fine-tuning the intricate balance of safety and trust. Pioneering research into the workload assessment of teleoperators stationed at control centres has further enriched our activities. This 25-minute ride in Milton Keynes, where these self-driving vehicles seamlessly navigate complex city intersections, traffic signals, and diverse road users, is an exciting blend of cutting-edge science and automotive innovation.

In addition to the main trial, the project will see a new autonomous delivery shuttle tested at the city’s Stadium MK.

Utilising a Smart Fleet Management platform developed by Applied Autonomy, Bring Auto will test a small car-sized shuttle over a two-week period in November, taking deliveries to various points within the stadium via an external ordering system, without human involvement.


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