Electric autonomous vehicles have the capacity to be a game changer in the field of transportation, and the City of Edmonton is planning a pilot project later this year to test the technology.
Edmonton will conduct its pilot in October and share test results with the City of Calgary, where an autonomous vehicle pilot is scheduled for September. Shared findings will enable additional data evaluation of how the pilot vehicle operates in two different Alberta climates.
The pilot will give Edmontonians the opportunity to ride in the autonomous vehicle and provide feedback to the city. The vehicle will operate at low speeds over a one kilometre circuit for up to one month. The route will be on a segregated roadway, separated from other vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The location will be announced later this year once all safety requirements and regulations are met with approval from Alberta Transportation.
“We are excited to share this pilot with the people of Edmonton, and we want to know what they think when they experience it,” said Stephanie McCabe, branch manager for the City of Edmonton’s Corporate Strategic Development Branch. “It will be one of the first opportunities in Western Canada for people here to try an automated vehicle on a safe, segregated route.”
Edmonton will work with the Pacific Western Group of Companies (PWT) and other future sponsors or partners on this pilot.
The vehicle’s driverless technology comes with collision avoidance systems that detect pedestrians, cyclists, other vehicles and obstacles. It is also equipped with multiple safety features for braking, entry and exit of the vehicle.
To ensure public safety during the pilot, there will be a trained operator in the vehicle who is able to stop the vehicle at any point. The vehicle operates at around 12 km/h, contains an access ramp for persons with disabilities, and can hold up to a maximum of 12 people including the operator (six seated and six standing).