A Coventry-based driverless vehicle company has completed its first-ever public autonomous trial in Canada, opening up new opportunities for expansion in North America.
Aurrigo has joined forces with the Ottawa L5 powered by Invest Ottawa and the Kanata North Business Association to give more than 350 local people the opportunity to ride in two of its Pod Zero autonomous vehicles at the Marches Golf Club in Ottawa.
Over the course of three days, community members have travelled across a complex route that includes hills, a tunnel, narrow tree-covered bridges and many twists and turns.
The UK-based first and last mile transport solution specialist worked with local technology companies to create a safe environment for the pods. Feedback from the trial is now being collated by Aurrigo and Transport Canada to enhance user experience and support continued Connected & Autonomous Vehicle policy research.
“Ottawa L5 was one of the early adopters of our Pod Zero technology and, over the last 18 months, we have developed a strategic relationship that truly leverages our respective strengths,” commented Aurrigo CEO David Keene.
He added: “The trial at Marches Golf Club in Ottawa is the first public trial we have completed in Canada and the response was fantastic with all the ride places filled and plenty of user comments on how we can refine our autonomous offer even further.
“Our pods represent impactful first and last mile transport solutions with deployment opportunities in a commercial, leisure, education or retail environment. There’s a really strong supply chain in Ottawa that can help support our roll-out in this area and other Canadian cities.”
Ottawa L5’s Ride the Pod trial, which was supported by KRP Properties and the Brookstreet Hotel, had a strong focus on safety, with the Aurrigo engineering team contributing to the pilot project design, testing/implementation and overseeing the operation of the Pod Zero.
Two information centres were established by Invest Ottawa and Kanata North Business Association to provide community members with an overview of the project and Connected & Autonomous Vehicles more broadly.
“Building on our strong public-private sector collaboration, this Ottawa L5 pod pilot project further strengthens Ottawa’s capabilities as Canada’s CAV Capital and directly supports the safe implementation of CAVs,” added Michael Tremblay, president and CEO of Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards.
“This trial builds on our collective strengths and puts them to work in a community use case to support the ongoing development and safe deployment of CAV pods and shuttles.”
David Keene concluded: “We highlighted Canada as a key strategic location for our technology early on in our international expansion and Ottawa L5 saw a similar opportunity, buying two of our Pod Zeros for use at its state-of-the-art test track and for pilot projects like the one we have just seen at Marches Golf Club.
“As a business we have invested heavily in this partnership, opening a technical office in Ottawa and making sure our engineers are on-site supporting the testing activity. It’s a relationship we believe will continue to grow in the coming months and years.”
The Canadian trial comes just a few weeks after Aurrigo announced £1.5m of new orders from across the world.
Demand for its driverless pods has soared following the successful completion of major domestic and international trials, proving that its technology can deliver safe and efficient ‘first and last mile’ transport solutions.
Sales have come from customers in Australia, Canada, Finland, Singapore and the US, with the latest deal seeing one of its ‘Pod Zeros’ heading to China, a potential landmark moment for the Coventry-based business.
This growth takes its annual sales up to £4.2 million and, with a strong pipeline of future orders in place, the company is predicting a further £6 million of contracts between now and the end of 2020.
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