Whitby Autonomous Vehicle Electric shuttle pilot conclusion
DURHAM: The Whitby Autonomous Vehicle Electric (WAVE) shuttle pilot project will conclude testing in February 2022. The project team would like to thank all partners, sponsors, staff, and community members for their support during the testing period.
The conclusion of the pilot project was announced at the Durham Region Transit Executive Committee (TEC) meeting on Wednesday, February 2nd, following additional updates on the WAVE shuttle pilot project. More than 250 passengers had the opportunity to ride the WAVE shuttle over the course of the four-month pilot with a total of 2,390 kilometres driven in both autonomous and manual mode (including set up time).
“Thank you to the team of provincial and local partners, sponsors, and staff for leading this innovative pilot, integrating smart technology into our roads. The key learnings from this pilot can help inform the research and development of future transit networks in our communities, and across the world. Durham Region is proud to be part of this ground-breaking project.” said John Henry, Regional Chair and CEO, Region of Durham.
The project has garnered valuable learnings on the technology capabilities and limitations, weather, accessibility, insurance and policy surrounding autonomous vehicle integration into public transit. The project partners are compiling specific insights and data for the project.
These learnings will help to inform future preparations for autonomous vehicles on public roads and public transit systems.
The TEC was also informed that the shuttle manufacturer, Local Motors, is ceasing operations.
In addition, an update was provided on the Durham Region Police Services’ investigation of the December 16th, 2021 WAVE shuttle’s single-vehicle collision, confirming the shuttle was operating in manual mode at the time of the incident; and that the hazard mitigation safety systems used when in autonomous mode, were not engaged when the incident occurred. The shuttle was not in service at the time, and the lone occupant, the safety attendant who was operating the vehicle, is expected to make a full recovery. The incident is not related to the closure of Local Motors.
The WAVE shuttle pilot project was the first-ever autonomous shuttle integrated into an existing transit service in Canada: Durham Region Transit (DRT) Route 300, a six-kilometre shuttle route, that began and ended at the Whitby GO Transit station, making a loop through the Port Whitby area. The project team will arrange to remove smart technology infrastructure and signage from the route.
“Thanks to the project partners for bringing the vision of autonomous shuttle operations to a real-world environment. Integrating autonomous technology within an existing transit network involved innovative solutions considering traffic flow, infrastructure, technical systems, planning, scheduling, safety and training. These solutions have brought forth a forward-thinking foundation that will support the transit and transportation industries to explore sustainable solutions for our future.” stated Bill Holmes, General Manager, Durham Region Transit.
The Government of Ontario in funding supported the project through the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), led by the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) and funding from project partners at the local, national and international levels.
To learn more about the pilot project, visit connectwhitby.ca/ridetheWAVE.
Artistic representation of vehicle wrap provided by Unique Media Solution.