A self-driving shuttle service that will run between a hospital and a university is being built and trialled in a £6 million project. The Sunderland Advanced Mobility Shuttle (SAMS) scheme will develop three zero-emission vehicles.
The service will carry passengers between the city’s interchange, Sunderland Royal Hospital and the University of Sunderland City Campus. A safety driver will be on board during the journeys and if the trial is successful, a sustainable commercial service could be launched next year.
Liz St Louis, Director of Smart Cities at Sunderland City Council, told Government Transformation Magazine: “Connected and Automated Vehicles will provide huge social, industrial and economic benefits across the world and we’re hugely optimistic about a technology-fuelled future.”
The project is one of seven UK self-driving initiatives that have been awarded a share of £84 million in government and industry funding. Autonomous vehicles could play a major role in transport systems of tomorrow by cutting the number of road collisions and improving access for people with mobility issues or those living in remote communities.