Sunderland's self-driving shuttle prepares to launch

Sunderland City Council is taking a significant step in the city’s journey towards self-driving transportation, with the launch of Sunderland Advanced Mobility Shuttle (SAMS) project. 

The local authority said the self-driving shuttles, which will be taking to the city streets in April, are part of a larger plan to transform urban mobility and enhance accessibility for residents and visitors. 

The project will trial three self-driving zero emission autonomous shuttles, designed specifically for SAMS by Aurrigo, which will transport passengers on public roads between Sunderland Interchange, the University of Sunderland City Campus and the Sunderland Royal Hospital. Whilst safety operators will always be onboard, the project will develop and demonstrate a cyber secure remote supervision protocol, an important step towards commercial deployment. 

The shuttle will run along an intelligent transport corridor, enabled by 5G small cells which are being installed along the vehicle route by Boldyn Networks.

“As we prepare to welcome the Sunderland Advanced Mobility Shuttle to our city streets, we are embarking on an exciting journey towards a more connected and sustainable future,” said Patrick Melia, chief executive at Sunderland City Council.

“SAMS represents a significant leap forward in our efforts to embrace innovation and improve the quality of life for our residents. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this self-driving shuttle will have on urban mobility across Sunderland.”

Sunderland's SAMS shuttle buses is one of seven successful self-driving projects across the UK to receive a share of £84 million in joint government and industry support. The grants - part of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Connected and Automated Mobility programme - are designed to help propel budding UK autonomous vehicle projects towards commercial deployment, while demonstrating the capabilities of a sustainable automated public transport service. 

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