The municipal government in Toronto, Canada has approved the use of a small, self-driving electric shuttle bus. It will transport passengers from one local neighborhood to one of the city’s larger transport stations. The area in Scarborough is considered a “dead-zone” for transit. The shuttle will take passengers to the Rogue Hill GO Station, where there are many more options for getting around Toronto.
“It’s a long walk for residents to get out to the Lawrence bus, so this will shorten their commute time and hopefully encourage more residents to take public transit,” said Scarborough-Rouge Park councillor Jennifer McKelvie, according to Global News.
The self-driving shuttle bus is called the Olli 2.0. It’s a micro-shuttle, created by Local Motors in partnership with Pacific Western Transportation. The fully electric vehicle is designed to hold eight people. It also has an accessibility ramp, a wheelchair securement system, audio and visual announcements, and other features for providing riders with information.
“We are continuing to move our city forward on many fronts including micro-transit as we manage the effects of COVID-19,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a news release. “This innovative project will provide valuable insight, while embracing innovation that could help us build a better, more sustainable and equitable transportation network.”
Here’s a short promotional video of the Olli 2.0.
Here's a look at Toronto's first ever self-driving shuttle bus scheduled to hit the streets in Spring of 2021.
The electric, autonomous vehicle will run from a Scarborough neighborhood to the Rouge Hill GO station for a 6-12 month trial period. pic.twitter.com/3PwfxE6xFp
— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) October 14, 2020
Although the vehicle is “self-driving,” it will still require two staff members onboard for every trip. Toronto says they will trial the Olli 2.0 for a 6-to-12 month period. Staff members will be certified operators from Pacific Western Transportation. Funding for the program comes from Transport Canada, as part of a ten-year pilot program to test autonomous vehicles on public roads.
The trial of Olli 2.0 is set to begin in spring 2021. Local Motors has already deployed the autonomous shuttle bus in other places around the world. The Olli 2.0 can also be found in California, Florida, and Belgium.