A driverless bus can be spotted on Buckinghamshire roads as part of a cutting-edge trial.  

Milton Keynes has been selected to trial a new self-driving shuttle bus as part of a Europe-wide trial led by University College London (UCL).

However, the trial in the city is the most complex so far, with the autonomous shuttle navigating multiple stops and carriageways for longer than in other test cities such as Prague in the Czech Republic.

To drive safely on public roads, the shuttle uses five lidar sensors and seven cameras to create a full 360-degree view around the vehicle.

Milton Keynes City Council’s cabinet member for climate action and sustainability councillor Jennifer Wilson-Marklew said: “Once again, Milton Keynes is at the forefront of a new, sustainable technology trial.

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“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.”

How to get on board

The accessible electric bus with capacity for up to 15 passengers will serve a city centre loop connecting Santander’s new UK HQ at Unity Place with centre:mk, the Theatre District and Station Square from November 14 until the end of the month. 

The shuttle will be monitored by the UCL research team, who will be in the city talking with users to understand how it could be developed to meet passenger needs.

The LivingLAPT project is funded by EIT Urban Mobility and led by UCL.

The shuttle is operated by the UK-based transport tech specialist Aurrigo.

CEO of Aurrigo David Keene said: “Aurrigo are pleased to be returning to Milton Keynes to move the game on in autonomous electric vehicle deployments in real-world situations.

“We have worked in the city since 2018 and we appreciate working with a forward thinking, innovative city that is keen to demonstrate the benefits that can be brought to citizens of Milton Keynes and across the UK by a self-driving electric vehicle like the Auto-Shuttle.”

Alongside the driverless bus, the researchers will also test the capabilities of a new autonomous delivery shuttle at Stadium MK. 

Operated by Bring Auto and using a Smart Fleet Management platform from Applied Autonomy, the delivery shuttle is about the size of a small car and will take deliveries around the stadium site over a two-week period during November.

It can interact with an external ordering system to fulfil orders without the involvement of a human operator.