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Posted on February 6, 2020 by staff

Autonomous vehicles swarm together in world first

Autonomous vehicles swarm together in world first

Aurrigo pod
Aurrigo pod

Autonomous ‘pods’ born in Coventry are now able to swarm together in a world first.

It moves the concept of a driverless public transport service, where the public can use an app to hail a pod or platoon of them, closer.

The pods created in Coventry by Aurrigo are designed for pedestrian areas and shared spaces, with the idea that they can be used as a ‘first and last mile service’.

WMG researchers at the University of Warwick integrated Swarm intelligence – skills typically used by birds and insects – into the pods in a project with Aurrigo and Milton Keynes Council.

Pods can now schedule themselves to follow each other, minimising the number of individual vehicle movements and the need for a supervisor per pod.

In the future, it is expected that a supervisor can watch several pods and report any unexpected behaviour.

The technology also enables the pods, working within a fleet, to automatically optimise their behaviour to meet future passenger demand by distributing themselves within a city to the areas where they will most likely be requested.


Dr Roger Woodman, associate Professor in human factors at WMG at the University of Warwick, said: “The SWARM algorithm has been tested and is proven to be effective and reliable.

“The ability to make pods ‘swarm’ together like a group of bees or birds, means they can coordinate with each other, bringing them one step closer to our streets.”

Simon Brewerton, Chief Technology Officer at Aurrigo, continued: “The collaborative SWARM algorithms have been developed to enable our autonomous vehicles to optimise their own trip schedules, so they deliver the optimum efficiency from a fleet of vehicles.

“The swarming technology is very exciting and has the potential to operate large fleets of remotely supervised autonomous vehicles in a safe and scalable way. Interest in this will be huge.”