Driverless shuttles navigate Netherlands roads
As part of a sustainability project, two driverless shuttle vehicles called WEpods are slated to begin running a regular route in Holland beginning in November; this marks the first time driverless vehicles the first autonomous, electric shuttles will be used on public roadways rather than special, dedicated lanes.
The pilot project, Citymobil2, is taking place in the province of Gelderland, Netherlands; the initial route will connect the Ede/Wageningen railway station and Wageningen University and Research Centre.
According to project organizers, “There are several initiatives with self driving vehicles all over the world like the Rotterdam Rivium shuttle bus, the Heathrow shuttles and the Masdar pods. However these vehicles operate on dedicated lanes. The Citymobil2 project is demonstrating self-driving vehicles on public roads with a steward on board. The WEpods project will operate on public roads in mixed traffic. A control room will monitor vehicle operation and safety, and initially a steward may accompany the guests in the vehicle. WEpods will initially focus on a fixed route, and can be extended to new routes and to other regions in the Netherlands, providing a quality leap for public transport.”
According to the Telegraph, users can book a WEpod ride using a mobile app that will allow selection of starting and end points. The vehicles were designed by French-based EasyMile.
Citymobil2, funded by the European Union, supports automated transit options in Europe.