Aurrigo partnership with Vodafone provides boost for autonomous vehicles

Posted on 7 Jul 2021 by Lois Mackenzie

Autonomous vehicle specialist, Aurrigo, is one of the first companies in the UK to benefit from a new technology partnership between Vodafone and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Aurrigo has been powering its three Auto-Shuttles with AWS Wavelength and Distributed Edge Computing from Vodafone.

With Vodafone’s 5G network, this partnership has created a notable breakthrough in the driverless vehicle industry. With pods and shuttles being tested in more than five countries globally, Aurrigo are even closer to being able to remove human safety supervisors from their trials.

Recent trials on roads have proved to been very positive for the company. Led in collaboration with Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and Smart Cambridge, the trial marked the first time a company had undertaken testing of a custom-made autonomous vehicle capable of carrying passengers on a main road in the UK. The tested vehicle was situated around real life traffic: cars, lorries, bikes and even pedestrians.

The shuttles, which can hold 10 passengers out with social distancing restrictions, took passengers from Madingley Road Park and Ride, to and around the University of Cambridge’s West Campus.

autonomous shuttle
Image courtesy of Aurrigo

This also led to engineers being able to tap into Vodafone’s Distributed Edge Computing, this being a first for Aurrigo. Vodafone’s technology provides a much more efficient one-way latency of 25ms to 30ms compared to 70ms to 80ms with the normal cloud.

The use and efficiency of this technology ensured the three shuttles had a guaranteed level of connectivity during the journey.

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

“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.”

Simon continued: “Low latency and high bandwidth combine to guarantee an exceptional level of performance from our shuttles and a backend service that is seamless and connected.

“The power of Vodafone Distributed Edge Computing and AWS Wavelength has been crucial to the success of the Cambridge trial and has given us confidence that we can move forward with more testing and the important next step of operating without a human supervisor.

“This really is a giant leap in ‘secure connectivity’ and we are delighted our project was chosen as the first in the UK to benefit.”

Anne Sheehan, Business Director at Vodafone UK, said: “What we are doing in the UK is evolving our business beyond the traditional boundaries of telecoms connectivity services. Edge Compute and 5G is a combination no other service provider can offer in Europe.

“This evolution of our network will empower companies like Aurrigo, making futuristic ideas like autonomous vehicles a reality.”

Aurrigo’s trial in Cambridge came to an end on 29th June. The project saw more than 100 people experiencing an autonomous journey on a public road.

For more information, visit the website or following Aurrigo on Twitter.