Coventry-based driverless pod firm Aurrigo has announced the completion of Canada’s first public autonomous pod trial, which it said will open new opportunities for expansion in North America.

Aurrigo joined forces with the Ottawa L5 powered by Invest Ottawa and the Kanata North Business Association to give more than 350 local people the opportunity to ride in two of its Pod Zero autonomous vehicles at the Marches Golf Club in Ottawa.

Over the course of three days, community members travelled across a complex route in the vehicle as it was tested on hills, a tunnel, and narrow tree covered bridges.

Feedback from the trial is now being collated by Aurrigo and Transport Canada to enhance user experience and support continued Connected & Autonomous Vehicle policy research.

“Ottawa L5 was one of the early adopters of our Pod Zero technology and, over the last 18 months, we have developed a strategic relationship that truly leverages our respective strengths,” explained David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo.

“Our pods represent impactful first and last mile transport solutions with deployment opportunities in a commercial, leisure, education or retail environment. There’s a really strong supply chain in Ottawa that can help support our roll-out in this area and other Canadian cities.”

“We highlighted Canada as a key strategic location for our technology early on in our international expansion and Ottawa L5 saw a similar opportunity, buying two of our Pod Zeros for use at its state-of-the-art test track and for pilot projects like the one we have just seen at Marches Golf Club.

“As a business we have invested heavily in this partnership, opening a technical office in Ottawa and making sure our engineers are on-site supporting the testing activity. It’s a relationship we believe will continue to grow in the coming months and years.”

The Canadian trial comes just a few weeks after Aurrigo announced £1.5m of new orders from across the world.

It said demand for its driverless pods has soared following the successful completion of major domestic and international trials from customers in Australia, Canada, Finland, Singapore and the US, with the latest deal seeing one of its ‘Pod Zeros’ heading to China, a potential landmark moment for the Coventry-based business.

This growth takes its annual sales up to £4.2m and, with a strong pipeline of future orders in place, the company is predicting a further £6m of contracts between now and the end of 2020.