Self-driving shuttle service set to come to Belfast Habour Estate in 2024

Belfast Harbour Commission
The project has been jointly funded by government and industry Credit: Belfast Harbour Commission

Northern Ireland's first self-driving shuttle service is set to be launched at Belfast's Harbour Estate in 2024.

The £11m 'Harlander' project has been jointly funded by government and industry and will be one of the first fully driverless transport systems anywhere in the UK.

It will connect the Harbour Estate from the Titanic Quarter railway station to the Catalyst Science Park in Queen's Islanding.

The service which is part of Belfast Harbour's Strategic Transport Masterplan, will be open for residents, visitors and employees.

Mike Dawson, People and Corporate Services Director at Belfast Harbour, said: "Belfast Harbour has a long track record of delivering and supporting innovation, so we are delighted to be establishing the UK's first operationally ready and commercially viable deployment of a fully automated shuttle service on publicly accessible roads within the Harbour Estate.

"This announcement supports our Smart Port ambitions and shows our commitment to the development of Belfast's Innovation District," he added. "The City's Innovation District has enormous potential for growth and we at Belfast Harbour want to play our part in helping to build an innovation eco-system that brings investment into the economy.

"Electrified connected and automated vehicles offer a route to provide a clean, efficient, and affordable public transport that aligns with net zero targets and provides connectivity to other modes of transport."

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said: "In just a few years' time, the business of self-driving vehicles could add tens of billions to our economy and create tens of thousands of jobs across the UK.

"This is a massive opportunity to drive forward our priority to grow the economy, which we are determined to seize. The support we are providing today will help our transport and technology pioneers steal a march on the global competition, by turning their bright ideas into market-ready products sooner than anyone else."

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