autonomous vehicles

Five Cities Say Yes to Autonomous Vehicles

Enthusiastically welcomed or subject of huge public controversy, it is by now clear that autonomous vehicles are here to stay. More and more cities are seeing driverless vehicles as a good solution for ensuring better and safer services for their citizens. Here are five cities in the world that have made real progress in adopting autonomous vehicles as part of their transportation network.

PARIS

A driverless passenger shuttle was launched in Paris Ile-de-France in a pilot project running from 31 March 2021 to June 2022. The autonomous public transport line serves passengers traveling from the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines-Montigny-le-Bretonneux train station to several local business parks. The free-of-charge service will operate Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 8 pm, and the buses will arrive and depart every eight minutes in rush hour and every 17 minutes at off-peak times. In order to comply with current legislation, a human supervisor is present in every bus during the whole operating time.

The multi-modal transportation company Keolis was selected to run the new line with Navya autonomous electric shuttles that can carry 11 seated passengers. The minibuses use vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology to communicate with traffic lights and navigate across busy roads.

MOSCOW

As part of a larger project of modernizing transportation infrastructure in Moscow, the local government has announced plans for a driverless tram network that would link several nodes of the capital. As the legislators are already at work to ensure that the laws and regulations are updated to allow such a system to exist, the driverless trams could be tested in Moscow starting as soon as the end of 2022. Tests will be done at first in depots, during the night, and later on with passengers.

The transportation optimization plans are focused on moving towards autonomous transport, including the use of “robotaxis”. Other forms of Russian transportation could benefit from driverless technologies in the near future. Russian Railways has announced plans to adopt automated control technologies in order to reduce headway, at least on some of their routes.

TORONTO

Toronto’s Municipality approved its Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan as early as 2019, with the main goal of making Toronto “AV Ready” by 2022. The plan consists of several stages, which will include population studies to find out how health might be impacted by the introduction of automated vehicles, as well as research on best practices for AV trials, culminating with a real-life trial on the streets.

The trial is currently taking place in the West Rouge neighborhood. It provides an automated shuttle service with an attendant on board at all times. The quiet and emissions-free AV used in the trial is Olli 2.0, a 3D-printed, electric, self-driving shuttle produced by Local Motors that seats up to eight passengers. Olli drives at a speed of 20km/h when in autonomous mode and 40km/h in manual mode.

autonomous vehicle

To navigate autonomously in normal traffic, Olli uses tools such as digital mapping of the route, a pre-programmed track, and redundant LiDar and radar sensors to analyze and respond to road and traffic conditions around it.
The trial is scheduled to end in February 2022. It will be followed by a period of assessing how the automated vehicle performed in various weather and road conditions.

SEOUL

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has allocated KRW148.7 billion, or US$125 million, to be spent between 2022 and 2026 to build up the necessary infrastructure for autonomous vehicles throughout the city. In November 2021, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon presented the municipality’s “Seoul Self-Driving Vision 2030,” painting a picture of a future where the daily lives of the citizens and urban spaces are filled with autonomous vehicles.

The municipality has published a detailed plan that stated bold goals for the city, such as expanding the autonomous vehicle hubs, establishing self-driving buses as public transportation means, and introducing autonomous vehicle-based urban management systems in public services while building and improving the autonomous vehicle infrastructure throughout the city.

Designed to be adopted in increments, the plan will introduce more than 300 autonomous vehicles by 2026, more than ten robot taxis that the users can call using an app, and the city plans to operate more than 100 autonomous buses and self-driving taxis.

SINGAPORE

In its autonomous vehicle (AV) test center, which opened in 2017, Singapore is conducting various trials, as the government considers this technology to be crucial for the improvement of the transportation network and an important step in the city-state’s journey to becoming a smart nation. In the last five years, the center has tested around 50 autonomous taxis, shuttles, buses, and road sweepers in order to gather the data necessary for wider adoption.

On a slightly larger scale, a few on-demand bus services were made available to the public in 2021 specifically for commuters at Science Park II and Jurong Island. In January 2022, at the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA’s) AV-themed exhibition, URA and companies showed how Singapore was preparing for an AV transport future that may be within reach in the next few decades.

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Alina Pintelie

Passionate about innovations, I am constantly promoting smart ideas and technologies that make our life easier and our environment friendlier. I'm a B2B marketer and content strategist based in the Netherlands. I write about geospatial technologies, agriculture, and the food industry while I help shape the content provided by experts as Content Expert Manager.

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