LONDON, September 25, 2020: Urban.AV is joining forces with the world renowned Cambridge Science Park to explore ways to deploy UK’s first operationally integrated, on-demand autonomous vehicle service — disrupting the public transport status-quo.
This partnership, part of the cutting-edge ASCENT® (Autonomous Shared Connected Electric New Transport) programme spearheaded by Urban.AV, aims to deliver an autonomous vehicle service between Cambridge North Station and Cambridge Science Park, providing a better traveller experience for the park’s 7000 strong commuters and visitors.
The service will utilise a new 5G enabled Zero Emission Mobility (ZEM) vehicle, the UrbanPod® Pro, which integrates human-centric design and state-of the art technology. The UrbanPod® Pro is a connected, autonomous, unmanned ground passenger and cargo vehicle that will shift Cambridge’s reliance on private cars / vans towards more sustainable, shared public transit systems. The work is supported by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which has an ambitious target to get 1 in 4 people out of their cars and onto more sustainable models of transport.
The UrbanPod® Pro
Urban.AV’s revolutionary UrbanPod® Pro, a zero-emission, safe, smart and cost effective transportation solution is set to provide an enhanced travel experience whilst accelerating the much needed decarbonisation of our country.
Driven by the world’s most certified and proven autonomous-driverless-system and its impressive array of ingeniously integrated sensors, the UrbanPod® Pro will provide exceptional safety and performance without compromising on looks.
UrbanPod® Pro passengers are positioned 3-facing-3 for enhanced safety and social-distancing within the flexible cabin, the fully electric and scaleable platform allows for bi-directional drive simplifying manoeuvring, enhancing ride-comfort whilst minimising the impact on existing city infrastructure. The vehicle is compact, symmetrical and provides panoramic city views whilst giving passengers 40% more space than a London Black Cab and includes front/rear luggage compartments. This is the first of a series of products being developed by Urban.AV that will include a variety of larger capacity and more advanced specification vehicles and a fully autonomous cargo version.
Ricky Sandhu Founder and CEO of Urban.AV said: “Inspired by the first ever ‘car’ conceived by Karl Benz in 1889 with iconic, oversized wheels, the UrbanPod® Pro is an SAE level 4+ vehicle that will propel us into an entirely new and exciting era of personal-mobility and passenger experience whilst subtly reminding us of where it all began. Our accessibly designed and aspirational UrbanPod® Pro recalibrates what urban mobility could look like.”
Autonomous vehicles will not scale unless consumer perception changes and design is a known-factor for automotive success globally and that’s why we are very motivated and committed to work with the city of Cambridge to realise our vision.”
Urban.AV’s Innovative Approach
Urban.AV’s innovative and refreshing approach to vehicle design, dynamic performance, appropriate infrastructure, and use-cases aims to capitalise on a rapidly growing market, now forecast to be worth over £900bn globally by the UK Government’s Connected Places Catapult.
The innovation extends from the vehicle to its ability to be integrated into services that do not compete with higher volume public transport and mass transit, instead complementing these, with the result that the public transport schemes in Cambridge, UK and globally will benefit from ‘filling in the gaps’ to ensure seamless service provision, as envisaged by Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
Urban.AV’s progress represents a significant step-change towards realising a green future-mobility of shared, sustainable, low carbon, Connected Autonomous Vehicles [CAV] for the imminent Highly Automated Road Passenger Services [HARPS] era that are safe, convenient and distinctive.
Jeanette Walker, Director of Cambridge Science Park said: “Urban.AV’s ground-based vehicle system presents a viable, green alternative to our current commuter and visitor transfer services. This exciting initiative is consistent with our sustainable travel policy as well our strategy to be an early adopter of innovative new technologies and technology convergence through collaboration.”
Councillor Roger Hickford, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Executive Board, said: “The Greater Cambridge Partnership is committed to supporting new technology to transform how people travel sustainably. I’m looking forward to seeing how ASCENT® trials showcase how passengers and cargo can be more efficiently transported between Cambridge North Station and the Cambridge Science Park using the Cambridge Guided Busway and other local roads across the city.”
Industry Leading Names Behind the UrbanPod® Pro Vehicle
Urban.AV is developing the UrbanPod® Pro with a stellar cast of UKs brightest technology companies and research institutes. Urban.AV has assembled a team that includes global public transport operators; Coventry University and the National Transport Design Centre; Arup; the National Composites Centre; and ARRK.
This industry-leading partnership boldly addresses key targets of the UK Government’s Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, boosting the British economy with new jobs in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) and design. This will help move the UK to become leading producers of low-carbon CAVs, fast-forwarding the UK’s ambitious environmental pledges of net zero carbon by 2050.
Tony King, General Manager for UK Engineering at ARRK Europe said:
“The Automotive / Mobility market is undergoing a period of significant transformation. Entrepreneurial companies are bringing new products to market which challenge our traditional perception of vehicle convention and technology and UrbanPod® Pro is no exception. It is a unique vehicle which is pushing the boundaries of innovation and ARRK are immensely proud to have been chosen to be the Vehicle Engineering and Vehicle Integration Partner. Not only will it provide ARRK with a great platform to demonstrate our Engineering capabilities, it also provides an opportunity to showcase the wider ARRK Prototype and Low Volume Production capabilities to bring this vision to life”
Tim Armitage, Associate Director at Arup’s Advanced Digital Engineering Group said:
“We continue to navigate a period of sustained disruption, with emerging technologies providing innovative solutions to real-world problems. We are delighted to be supporting Urban.AV in developing the exciting UrbanPod® Pro automated shuttle. It combines world class design with leading technology that will undoubtedly provide an attractive sustainable solution to ‘last mile’ mobility. I can’t wait to see it on the ground in Cambridge.”
Stewart Birrell, Professor of Human Factors for Future Transport at Coventry University’s National Transport Design Centre (ntdc) said:
“The ASCENT® programme is a world-leading example of how Automated, Connected, Electric and Shared (ACES) mobility can positively impact public transport in the UK. Here at the ntdc we are delighted to contribute our expertise in Human Factors and Transport Design to this exciting and innovative collaboration. The transportation of people around city centres is changing – whether this be initiated through major global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic or the ever-present threat of climate change.
Fiona Waters CFO of Urban.AV said:
“Our game-changing modular vehicle, will showcase how vehicles will be manufactured in the future, more sustainably via COTS [commercial-off-the-shelf] sub-systems, innovative natural-fibre composites, Additive Layer Manufacturing and the subtle integration of state-of the art autonomous systems and 5G-connectivity allowing us to literally ‘breakthrough’ the barriers of automotive manufacturing. Receipt of Letters of Intent from potential customers proves our approach to developing and deploying autonomous vehicles by focusing on appropriate and safe infrastructure environments to ease pain-points and fulfil journeys that are operationally integrated with other transport providers. That’s why we are thrilled to have Cambridge as our launch city for UrbanPod® Pro.”
Striking a powerful balance of design and technology, confirmed by an Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) UK supported market-research pre-launch event with Urban.AV’s development models and bucks of the UrbanPod® Pro, ITS UK said “We can imagine how the UrbanPod® Pro, a vehicle that is distinctive and attractive by design with this integrated service could be coupled and connected with community living/working locations in Cambridge and throughout the UK, as part of shared FMLM [First-Mile-Last-Mile] trips within a MaaS [Mobility-as-a-Service] regime that could provide enhanced levels of passenger comfort, safety and well-being.”
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