Canada’s First Autonomous Electric Shuttle Will Debut this Fall

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Sometimes a patient bus driver will wait and let trailing passengers hop on before they leave for the next stop. Well, those late riders may have to start waking up a few minutes early, at least in one Canadian town.

The City of Candiac in Quebec—about 20 minutes outside of Montreal—has announced the completion of a long-term project that will see a 100 per cent electric autonomous shuttle used on public roads for the first time in Canada’s history. The shuttle was created with the help of transportation company Keolis Canada, manufacturer NAVYA, Propulsion Québec, la Grappe industrielle des véhicules électriques et intelligents du Québec and Technopôle IVÉO, along with help from the Quebec and Candiac governments.

Beginning in September, the shuttle will carry citizens from a park-and-ride lot to André-J.Côté Park, all for free. It will travel along Montcalm Boulevard North and make several stops along the way, including one at city hall and several businesses. An operator will be on-board the shuttle itself throughout the run of the project, but they will simply be answering questions riders may have, and not actually operating the vehicle—though they will have the capacity to take control if need be. The shuttle will travel at 25 km/hr and can adjust to different circumstances, say if it is trailing a bicycle. A touchscreen will let passengers request to be let off at a certain stop.

The video below (in French) shows off some of the features of the shuttle. It was made by Keolis Canada, the company responsible for the construction of the shuttle.

The shuttle will run throughout the fall until winter sets in and it is unable to operate. After that, another experimentation phase will take place to see if the shuttle can handle icy and snowy roads without a driver.

“Candiac places great importance on public and active transport,” said Normand Dyotte, Mayor of Candiac. “We are constantly working to provide additional multimodal transportation options while remaining steadfastly focused on the notions of sustainable development and the smart city. A true showcase of technological advancements, the autonomous electric shuttle project put forth by Keolis Canada and NAVYA is perfectly aligned with our vision in terms of innovation and is at the heart of our 2014–2029 strategic development plan.”

“We are extremely proud to be the first city in Canada to move forward with a project of this nature.”

The overall goal for this project, aside from transporting Candiac’s 21,000 citizens, is to advance the evolution of autonomous technology.

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