Aurrigo has become one of the first companies in the UK to benefit from a new technology partnership between Vodafone and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The autonomous vehicle specialist has been powering its three Auto-Shuttles – used in recent road trials in Cambridge – with AWS Wavelength and Distributed Edge Computing from Vodafone which together delivers ultra-low latency and expansive bandwidth that guarantees excellent levels of performance and cyber resilience as the data is not exposed to the public internet.

Paired with the cell operator’s 5G network, it is an important breakthrough in the driverless vehicle arena and moves the company a step closer to removing the human safety supervisor from its pods and shuttles that are being tested and operated in five countries.

“AWS Wavelength, Vodafone 5G and MEC technologies allow us to monitor our autonomous vehicles in real time, via safe and secure communications,” said Simon Brewerton, CTO at Coventry-based Aurrigo.

“The assured high bandwidth connectivity between multiple vehicles, the central control room and our servers, supports critical uses such as remote supervision and first-person video feeds.

“This is a paradigm shift in reliability, speed and capacity compared with the previous connectivity we had access to, and we look forward to working with the two global leaders to really maximise the potential of their complementary technology on future trials.”

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Cambridge was an important milestone for Aurrigo, which claims to lead the world in the development of ‘first and last mile’ transport.

The trial – run in partnership with Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and Smart Cambridge – marked the first time in the UK a company had undertaken testing of a custom-made autonomous vehicle capable of carrying passengers on a main road surrounded by other traffic, including cars, lorries, vans, bikes and pedestrians.

Able to seat 10 people outside of social distancing restrictions, the three shuttles took passengers from the Madingley Road Park and Ride site to and around the University of Cambridge’s West Campus.

It was also the first time Aurrigo engineers had been able to tap into the Distributed Edge Computing which provides significantly better one-way latency of 25ms to 30ms compared to 70ms to 80ms with the normal cloud.

Using 4G and 5G also ensure that the three operating Auto-Shuttles received a guaranteed level of connectivity.

Aurrigo’s Cambridge trial ended on 29 June when shuttles transported their last public passengers.

Over the course of the project, more than 1000 people have experienced an autonomous journey on a public road shared with other traffic, with feedback set to be used to develop future public transport for the historical city.