Canada’s First Smart Infrastructure AV Pilot Begins Trial

A bus service claiming full autonomous operation is due to start commercial operations in Ontario later this year.

Dubbed the Whitby Autonomous Vehicle Electric (WAVE) the shuttle will serve the town’s waterfront in Whitby, Ontario and is anticipated to begin operations with on-road testing, followed by public ridership. The BEV hopes to use and integrates smart infrastructure along the route to help create safer roads for pedestrians, cyclists, transit passengers and other road users.

The pilot project is being undertaken in partnership between SmartCone Technologies, AutoGuardian By SmartCone, the Town of Whitby, Region of Durham, Durham Region Transit (DRT), Metrolinx, Nokia Canada and other partners, to learn about how new technologies can contribute to safer, more sustainable and connected transit and traffic operations.

The 3.5 mile shuttle route will begin and end at the Whitby GO Transit station, making a loop through the residential, recreational and industrial areas of the Port Whitby neighborhood. This pilot is Canada’s first autonomous trial where both shuttle and smart infrastructure will be integrated into an existing transit service providing the opportunity to assess the operational, financial and customer service benefits and implications of the technologies in community transportation.

For safety reasons, it will operate at a speed of no more than 18mph and have a trained safety attendant on board who can manually take control of the vehicle at any time, if required. The service will also be aided by more than 50 pieces of smart transportation infrastructure including the elimination of blind spots experienced by vehicles and use of real-time audio and visual alerts to other road users about the shuttle’s operation.

Jason Lee, founder and chief executive officer of SmartCone, said: “SmartCone is honored to lead this project with the support of AVIN and OCI. Working with these technology leaders will be ground-breaking and together we will show how an autonomous solution can come to market in a real-world and truly integrated environment safely and to the benefit of all.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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