A self-driving shuttle trial service is set to hit Toronto in spring 2021.
The City of Toronto signed an agreement with Local Motors by LM Industries (the world’s first and only digital vehicle manufacturer), in partnership with Pacific Western Transportation, to deliver the automated shuttle trial.
“We are continuing to move our city forward on many fronts including micro transit as we manage the effects of COVID-19,” Mayor John Tory said of the announcement. “This innovative project will provide valuable insight, while embracing innovation that could help us build a better, more sustainable and equitable transportation network.”
Local Motors, in partnership with Pacific Western Transportation, will provide this service using Olli 2.0, the latest iteration of its electric, self-driving shuttle.
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) October 14, 2020
The service will be provided using Olli 2.0 — the latest iteration of its electric, self-driving shuttle. It will have a seating capacity of up to eight passengers, and will be equipped with an accessibility ramp and a wheelchair securement system, audio and visual announcements, and other features for rider information.
An on-board safety steward will oversee vehicle operations and can manually take control of the vehicle at any time when required.
According to a city press release, the trial will run anywhere from six to 12 months. Two staff members, a certified operator from Pacific Western Transportation, and one customer service ambassador from either TTC or Metrolinx will be on board for every trip.
The trial run will be delivered in partnership with TTC and Metrolinx, and receive funding from Transport Canada under the program Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System (ACATS).
The trial is also part of Toronto’s Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan and Readiness 2022, which is the first comprehensive automated vehicles plan for a North American city.
To date, Olli has been deployed in business parks, neighbourhoods, and other communities around the world in low-speed environments, including in California, Florida and Belgium, in partnership with local municipalities and transit agencies.
Torontonians quickly took to Twitter over the announcement, some praising the city for being innovative, and others questioning the size of the vehicles.
What’s the point in buying vehicles that can only carry 8 people, in a city of 8 million? I don’t really get the plan here…
— 😷 Dave 😷 (@NotSoSuper_Dave) October 14, 2020
The automated shuttle area will be in the West Rouge community in Scarborough when it launches, and passengers will ride for free in the current plan. Click here for more information about the automated shuttle trial.