Whitby Autonomous Vehicle Electric shuttle pilot conclusion

Posted on Wednesday February 02, 2022

Whitby, Ontario – The Whitby Autonomous Vehicle Electric (WAVE) shuttle pilot project will conclude testing in February 2022. The project team would like to thank all partners, sponsors, staff and members of the community for their support during the testing period.

The conclusion of the pilot project was announced at the Durham Region Transit Executive Committee (TEC) Meeting on Wednesday, February 2, following additional updates on the WAVE shuttle pilot project. More than 250 passengers had the opportunity to ride the WAVE shuttle over the course of the four-month pilot with a total of 2,390 kilometres driven in both autonomous and manual mode (including set up time).

The project has garnered valuable learnings on the technology capabilities and limitations, weather, accessibility, insurance and policy surrounding autonomous vehicle integration into public transit. Specific insights and data for the project are being compiled by the project partners. These learnings will help to inform future preparations for autonomous vehicles on public roads and public transit systems.

The TEC was also informed that the shuttle manufacturer, Local Motors, is ceasing operations.

In addition, an update was provided on the Durham Region Police Services’ investigation of the December 16, 2021 WAVE shuttle’s single-vehicle collision, confirming the shuttle was operating in manual mode at the time of the incident; and that the hazard mitigation safety systems, used when in autonomous mode, were not engaged when the incident occurred. The shuttle was not in service at the time, and the lone occupant—the safety attendant who was operating the vehicle—is expected to make a full recovery. The incident is not related to the closure of Local Motors.

The WAVE shuttle pilot project was the first-ever autonomous shuttle integrated into an existing transit service in Canada: Durham Region Transit (DRT) Route 300, a six-kilometre shuttle route, that began and ended at the Whitby GO Transit station, making a loop through the Port Whitby area. The project team will arrange for the removal of smart technology infrastructure and signage from the route.

QUOTES

“Thank you to the team of provincial and local partners, sponsors, and staff for leading this innovative pilot, integrating smart technology into our roads. The key learnings from this pilot can help inform the research and development of future transit networks in our communities, and across the world. Durham Region is proud to be part of this ground-breaking project.”

– John Henry, Regional Chair and CEO, Region of Durham

“I would like to thank Whitby residents and all project partners for supporting this pilot that will help to advance autonomous and sustainable technologies and innovation, locally and around the world. This project represented a number of local and global firsts and we were proud to have hosted it in our Town.”

– Don Mitchell, Mayor, Town of Whitby

“This partnership is a testament to the range of transit options that is possible when innovation meets collaboration. Thanks to all leaders and their talented teams for sharing this vision and executing the countless details that were required to demonstrate autonomous shuttle operations.”

– Shaun Collier, Mayor, Town of Ajax and Chair, Transit Executive Committee

“Thanks to the project partners for bringing the vision of autonomous shuttle operations to a real-world environment. Integrating autonomous technology within an existing transit network involved innovative solutions that considered traffic flow, infrastructure, technical systems, planning, scheduling, safety and training. These solutions have brought forth a forward-thinking foundation that will support the transit and transportation industries to explore sustainable solutions for our future.”

–  Bill Holmes, General Manager, Durham Region Transit

“The learnings from this deployment will help to shape the future of mobility within our local communities and across the globe. The integration of automated technology at this level takes innovation, collaboration, and a forward-thinking mindset. I am thankful to all the project partners and the community for coming together to make it happen.”

–  Tenille Houston, CEO, AutoGuardian by SmartCone

Project Partners

The project was supported by the Government of Ontario, in funding through the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), which is led by the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), in addition to funding from project partners at the local, national and international levels, including:

  • Government of Ontario:
    • OVIN: funding to support this technology commercialization and demonstration project
    • Ministry of Transportation: regulator for autonomous vehicle pilots in Ontario
    • Metrolinx: provincial transportation agency
  • SmartCone: project lead, provider of smart infrastructure technology
    • AutoGuardian By SmartCone: operators of the intelligent infrastructure and autonomous shuttle
  • Town of Whitby: host community for pilot
  • Region of Durham: traffic and signal operations
  • Durham Region Transit: transit service
  • Local Motors: shuttle manufacturer
  • Ontario Tech University: Automotive Centre of Excellence for autonomous vehicle maintenance
  • Durham College: outreach and engagement support
  • Transport Canada: regulator for importing the autonomous vehicle shuttle

To learn more about the pilot project, visit connectwhitby.ca/ridetheWAVE.

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For more information, please contact Corporate Communications