The first driverless vehicles for public roads will be used in the Netherlands this November.
Passengers will be able to take the self-driving electric shuttle, known as the WEpod, to the towns of Wageningen and Ede in the center of the Netherlands, The Telegraph reported. Its initial introduction to the public this November will serve as a test phase, meaning the WEPod will not be used in rush hour traffic, poor weather or at night.
The shuttles are equipped with multiple cameras to map landmarks and navigate around obstacles that are not picked up by its GPS. The vehicle will also be equipped with a radar and laser.
WEpods fit six people and are monitored by a control room to check that passengers are being transported safely. It will travel at a maximum 25 kilometers per hour (15 miles per hour). Passengers can book the WEPod using an app and select their starting point and destination.
EasyMile, a joint venture between robotics company Robosoft and vehicle manufacturer Ligier Group, designed the driverless shuttles for Citymobil2 — a pilot program for automated transportation systems in Europe funded by the European Union. The project cost 3.5 million euros or about $US4 million is USD.
EZ10, the predecessor to the WEPod, has successfully transported 19,000 passengers in Vantaa, Finland and on a university campus in Lausanne, Switzerland.
WEpod will be tested on a fixed route at first, but it is expected that other routes and regions within the Netherlands will be included by May 2016.
Autonomous public transportation does exist in other parts of the world — such as the Heathrow Pod in London — but they run on trajectory lanes. This is the first driverless shuttle to be used on a public road.
Watch the WEpod in action:
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