1st public trial of a driverless shuttle wraps up in Calgary

The first ever public trial of a driverless shuttle in Canada has wrapped up.

4,500 people took shuttle between Calgary Zoo and Telus Spark

The free autonomous shuttle ran between Telus Spark and the Calgary Zoo on a separate roadway, free of other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. (Colin Hall/CBC)

The first ever public trial of a driverless shuttle in Calgary has wrapped up.

The 22-day pilot project shuttled 4,500 visitors between Telus Spark and the Calgary Zoo.

The 12-passenger vehicle traversed a separate roadway free of other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

City transportation engineer Colin Chapman said riders had a lot of questions about the vehicle.

"They were interested to see a vehicle that doesn't have a steering wheel, and obviously a bit unsure while they're getting on," Chapman said. 

"There were some concerns with security and what if it were to be hacked, and that kind of concern was built into the vehicle — it's a one-way connection, so unless you're the operator itself that can't happen."

The project was a collaboration between the University of Calgary, a number of companies from different industries, and three levels of government.

It uses a combination of high-accuracy satellite navigation and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which detects objects or people in the vehicle's path.

Chapman said the shuttle project is now being tested in Edmonton, and the team involved with the project in Calgary will be bringing a report to the federal government in early 2019.

The first test shows the technology works, he said.

"One of the key takeaways is nobody was hurt, nothing was hit, so the technology was kind of proven," Chapman said.

"That was one of the big things to introduce the technology from an insurance standpoint, you know, we can do this."

With files from Lucie Edwardson


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