A self-driving passenger shuttle service has begun trials at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.
The shuttle has no steering wheel and instead has safety controls that an operator inside the vehicle manages. Satellite communications, as well as 4G and 5G, are being used to position the shuttle.
The driverless shuttle is also environmentally friendly as it emits no carbon dioxide and is battery-operated.
The driverless shuttle service in Oxfordshire is the newest effort of many tech companies to make self-driving vehicles a reality. Other companies that have previously announced plans to make self-driving cars include Apple and Auro Robotics.
Self-Driving Shuttle Service Begins Trial
All aboard the self-driving bus. What an awesome sight. Well done to everyone who made this happen Darwin Innovation Group, Navya Group, European Space Agency - ESA, UK Space Agency, Aviva, Virgin Media O2 #autonomousvehicles #CAVs pic.twitter.com/DHv7acoovO— Harwell Campus (@HarwellCampus) November 29, 2021
A self-driving passenger shuttle service has started trials at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, U.K. "What an awesome sight," Harwell Campus' Twitter account says of the shuttle service.
The driverless shuttle service is being trialed by the Darwin Innovation Group, according to a report by the BBC. Both U.K. and European space agencies are assisting with the trials.
Per the BBC report, the shuttle has no steering wheel. It, however, has safety controls that an operator aboard the shuttle service manages.
The U.K.'s space agency has said that "the use of satellite communications in positioning the shuttle during the trial was 'significant.'" The BBC report adds that 4G and 5G are also being used in addition to satellites to make sure that self-driving vehicles can still operate in areas with poor terrestrial coverage.
The driverless shuttle service currently in the midst of trials at the Harwell Campus is a battery-powered shuttle that does not emit any carbon dioxide. The shuttle, built by a company called Navya, is currently free to ride for passengers on the campus.
Driverless or Self-Driving Vehicles
More and more tech companies, particularly car manufacturers, have been exploring the possibility of producing driverless vehicles or cars in the past few years.
The BBC report mentions that shuttles similar to the one being trialed at Harwell Campus are being used to transport people in Switzerland.
It was reported early this year here on Tech Times that Apple is planning to team up with Hyundai and Kia to create a self-driving Apple Car. According to the report, there is a possibility that Apple's TSMC chip will come with the self-driving vehicle.
In 2015, it was also reported here on Tech Times that Auro Robotics was planning on bringing driverless shuttles to school campuses. At that time, the company had already started deploying prototypes at Santa Clara University.
However, there have been debates in regards to the safety of self-driving vehicles. Among the concerns of those against driverless vehicles are hacking threats as well as ethical issues such as how an autonomous car would respond to emergencies.
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Written by Isabella James