A pioneering Coventry manufacturing specialist has launched Australia’s first ever driverless mobility service in a retirement lifestyle village.
Aurrigo, in collaboration with Regional Development Australia, has launched the ‘world first’ autonomous vehicle trial at the Lendlease-owned Elliot Gardens retirement village at Port Elliot.
The trial will showcase how autonomous technology can deliver improved mobility for the 330 residents living in 194 villa homes at the 27-hectare village.
One of the company’s three PodZero driverless vehicles, which have been operating at the Tonsley Innovation District as part of the South Australian government’s Future Mobility Lab Fund programme since late 2017, are being assigned to the trial.
The battery-powered pods operate autonomously through multiple sensor technologies with speeds up to 24 kmph and can seat up to four passengers or small cargo transport.
David Basham, Member for Finniss, officially launched the trial: “I’m very pleased our community has been selected to undertake this trial.
“We recognise it’s not always easy for older residents to get around and it makes perfect sense to utilise advanced technology to improve their mobility and quality of life.
“I’m confident the residents of Elliot Gardens will embrace this amazing technology, which is heralding a completely new way of how we move ourselves.”
Roger van der Lee, Director Autonomous Programs APAC for Aurrigo, said the opportunity to meet a demand for mobility services for senior citizens in a range of retirement living situations utilising our driverless technology is very important.
“This trial will provide user feedback on the real-life experience of an autonomous mobility service and the performance of the pod, which will contribute to future service and technical developments.
“Our aim is to improve the quality of life by providing a mobility service, which enables social interaction in every community where we operate.”
The trial, which includes an independent research programme conducted by the Global Centre for Modern Ageing, is the latest breakthrough development for Coventry’s Aurrigo.
With its headquarters in the UK and technical offices in Adelaide, the US and Canada, the company is making global headlines after kick-starting the world’s first ever driverless trial for blind veterans in March.
“We are constantly looking for ways to make our villages more liveable, which is why we’re tremendously excited to be participating in this Autonomous Vehicle Trial,” explained Tony Randello, Managing Director of Lendlease Retirement Living.
“This trial may show us how technology could extend mobility and help our resident’s age in place, among friends and providing them a sense of freedom and independence.
“We also expect the trial will show that no matter how old you are, you can always embrace new technology into your lifestyle.”
The Aurrigo pod, named ‘Elliot’ after a popular vote of the residents, commenced operations this week.
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