Autonomous riding is coming to Calgary and Edmonton. The two pilot programs will be the first in the country to put real riders in a self-driving shuttle.
The announcement came at an event in Edmonton where the University of Alberta was able to showcase its Active Aurora autonomous work. The facility is working on connected vehicle technology, designed to let vehicles communicate with other vehicles nearby and around the city. Active Aurora says that the technology for car-to-car communication is necessary to put AVs on the road. The vehicles talk to avoid congestion or be aware of hazards.
Active Aurora isn't testing driverless cars yet, but autonomous vehicles are coming to the city, and Calgary, very soon.
Calgary is launching a pilot program autonomous shuttle in September. It will take visitors down a one km service road that connects the zoo to the science centre. The shuttle will be separated from pedestrians and traffic. Calgary transportation planner Andrew Sedor called it the first time in Canada for this type of pilot program.
The Edmonton route will be announced later this year, once it gets approval from Alberta Transportation. The city expects it to be operational in October.
The pilots will operate for around a month but they could be extended with positive feedback. The trial will be operated by the Pacific Western Group, a motorcoach operator.
The shuttle used will be the EZ10 made by French company EasyMile. It's fully electric and has no steering wheel. The shuttle uses 3D mapping and position data from four sensors and cameras. The shuttle has been named Ela, seats 12 passengers, and has a built-in mobility ramp. The EZ10 has been used in autonomous projects in 20 countries around the world.