The Coventry-based RDM Group are using their PodZero to test the viability of a driverless vehicle route down the Guided Busway, in the hope of eventually having 10 seater pod vehicles take to the roads to help ease congestion.
Richard Fairchild, Director of Autonomous Mobility Programmes at RDM Group, said: "The Trumpington to Cambridge Guided Busway represents an ideal route for the implementation of autonomous vehicles to meet real passenger demand. It is segregated from the highway allowing the pods to whizz up and down without traffic congestion slowing them down and also segregated from pedestrians and cyclists meaning it is a really safe route.
"Research has shown that there is demand for hundreds of journeys in the hours when the buses do not run. This is simply due to the cost and the pods can offer a solution that is cheaper to run ... this is not replacing the existing service, just complementing it with a practical and effective solution during quieter times of the day.
"The technology in the PodZero is ideal for replicating the conditions an autonomous bus will run under and, the fact it could be quickly deployed, means we can deliver the data, information and experience required to get the fleet of larger, 10-seater autonomous buses on the busway a reality sooner rather than later."
The scheme has been backed by Councillor Francis Burkitt, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership.
He shared: "It's exciting that testing of autonomous (driverless) vehicles on the Busway is now underway as part of our on-going collaborative work to transform the way people travel into, out of and around the city.
"The Busway already provides a ready-made link between the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Trumpington Park & Ride, Cambridge railway station and the city centre.
"In future, autonomous shuttles could help to meet the demand for services in the evenings and at weekends when the buses are not running, giving more people the opportunity to travel sustainably on key routes into the city."