Golfers and caddies appearing at The ISPS Handa Wales Open will today be taken out to the opening tee in a driverless shuttle, powered by Vodafone’s 4G network.
The tournament will be the first major sporting event to use driverless technology, supporting social distancing guidelines.
The unusual looking shuttles, that appear to have been wrapped in cardboard, have been created through a partnership between Vodafone and Coventry-based autonomous vehicle developer and manufacturer Aurrigo. They will carry some of the European Tour’s leading stars from the famous Twenty Ten Clubhouse to the first tee.
Vodafone will be providing its leading 4G network connectivity to the shuttles, to enable the high speed and real time data transfers critical in supporting the precise positioning and location of the vehicle on its journey.
The shuttles feature Lidar technology, cameras and an inertial navigation system which come together to guide the vehicle on its journey. The data can then be viewed by the Aurrigo fleet management system to remotely monitor and track them.
Golfers and their caddies including European Tour star Ross Fisher will be transported in the vehicle alone. Passengers will sit a minimum of two metres apart in transit, to ensure social distancing and minimise the spread of Covid-19.
Says Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone UK:
“It’s fantastic to see our leading connectivity playing a pivotal role in making this event happen. We’re always looking at ways in which our technology can overcome the challenges brought about by Covid-19.”
Adds David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo:
“We have worked extremely closely with the European Tour and the players to redesign the inside of the shuttle to ensure that it is fully Covid-19 secure, whilst our new technology partnership with Vodafone will provide vital connectivity.
“It is a great opportunity to showcase our technology in front of a global audience and, potentially, provides an insight into how a Covid-19 secure autonomous vehicle could be a blueprint for future transport solutions across the world.”