What some say could be the future of public transportation in Whitby has a top speed of 20 kilometres per hour. For safety reasons, that’s as fast as the new eight-seater driverless vehicle will be travelling when they start transporting their first passengers. The six-kilometer route, which the vehicle will follow, is said to be the longest AV circuit in Canada to date and will be in use within the next few weeks. The driverless vehicles come equipped with GPS, cameras, radar, and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) whose output is processed while following the pre-programmed route, although operators will be present on-board to take manual control if needed.
Amir Khajepour, an MME researcher with the Autonomous Vehicle Research and Intelligence Lab, says self-driving vehicles could reduce costs for municipalities in the long-term by allowing them to cut staff expenses and by potentially operating on-demand. “If the system is fully autonomous, as soon as there is a huge surge in terms of the number of passengers, you can run five of them right away, continuously, and then, as soon as it drops, you park two of them,” he says. See TVO for more information