Electric and self-driving vehicle technologies are combining to transform human transportation in the digital era. While many cities are providing support by expanding their electric charging infrastructure, one Canadian city is encouraging the trend in a slightly different way, by harnessing it to service public transit needs.
The City of Candiac in the province of Quebec recently announced the arrival of a long-term demonstration project for a 100-percent electric, autonomous shuttle, to be used on public roads. The project is being described as the first of its kind in Canada.
The shuttle will begin running in September. It will provide citizens with free transportation. Many common destinations will be along its travel route.
An operator will ride along on the shuttle to answer questions. The operator will also be able to take the controls if needed.
The shuttle will run through the fall until winter weather conditions take over. At that time, it will go into an experimentation phase with no passengers to test its performance during the winter season.
The shuttle project is a collaboration of the city, transportation company Keolis Canada, manufacturer NAVYA, the Quebec Government, Propulsion Québec, la Grappe industrielle des véhicules électriques et intelligents du Québec, and Technopôle IVÉO.
Project proponents see it as a progressive and forward-thinking endeavor with many benefits. Describing it as “a true showcase of technological advancements,” Candiac Mayor Normand Dyotte said the project allows the city to “provide additional multimodal transportation options” and, at the same time, remain “steadfastly focused on the notions of sustainable development and the smart city.”