The future is now — when it comes to driverless vehicles, anyways. People in the Lower Mainland have a chance to experience riding in an electric, 100 per cent autonomous shuttle this weekend at Olympic Village.
Kicking off in Surrey at the beginning of February and in Vancouver last week, the demonstration is part of the Infrastructure Canada Smart Cities Challenge that the aforementioned two cities are jointly taking part in. They are getting ready to submit a final application in a few days and if chosen, will both receive $50 million in prize money to fund projects to improve the quality of life of residents.
“Driverless vehicles are anticipated to eliminate one of the leading contributors to collisions — human error,” said City of Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “By piloting them on these corridors, we can learn more about how they can be used throughout the region to improve safety, reduce congestion, and create safer, greener, healthier, more connected communities. In Surrey and Vancouver we believe that together, we are leading the way and setting the standard for other cities in Canada to follow for smart mobility.”
More on the ride: the EZ10 Driverless Shuttle, referred to as ELA, or ELectric Automation, is a zero-emissions automobile with seating for 12 and a battery that lasts up to 14 hours. It relies on a combination of sensors, video cameras and computers to navigate the short route in and around Olympic Village, it. During the five-minute demo ELA travels at approximately 12 kilometres an hour, but has a top speed of 40 km/h.
Anyone on the fence about the experience can rest easy as there is a trained operator on-board at all times in case of emergencies. The shuttle, which is wheelchair, scooter and stroller accessible, is separated from traffic to further ensure safety.
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