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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Edmonton is early adopter in Western Canada testing of electric autonomous vehicles

EasyMile driverless shuttle
City of Edmonton - The City of Edmonton is planning a pilot project later this year to test electric autonomous vehicle technology.  “Edmonton embraces innovation and we look forward to working with our citizens, partners, industry and other orders of government to prepare for the potential of widespread autonomous vehicle use,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “As one of the fastest growing and youngest cities in Canada, we are driving our own future and looking forward to what this pilot will help us understand.”


The announcement was made as industry leaders and municipalities gathered in Edmonton for the two-day Automated Vehicles 2018: Planning for Urban and Rural Transitions conference.

Edmonton plans to 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 of Edmonton. 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.”

McCabe said the planned pilot supports the City’s Smart Transportation Action Plan.

Edmonton will work with the Pacific Western Group of Companies (PWT) and other future sponsors or partners on this pilot.

“The Pacific Western Group of Companies is proud to partner with both Edmonton and Calgary,” said Dan Finley, Vice President of Sales and Business Development. “It’s important for governments and industry to work together to learn about this evolving technology. It has the capacity to be a real game changer in the field of transportation.”

The vehicle to be tested is manufactured by EasyMile. EasyMile driverless shuttles have been deployed in 20 countries across Asia-Pacific, Middle-East, North America and Europe. Many of the applications are in mixed traffic where vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians are using the roadway.

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).

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