ELectric Automation (ELA) visits Surrey and Vancouver as part of the Smart Cities Challenge

Experience a driverless shuttle in your community

Doug McCallum and Kennedy Stewart

IF you’ve been wondering what it’s like to ride in a driverless vehicle, here is your chance to be one of the first people to experience a driverless shuttle ride. Rides will take place at the following times:

  •  Surrey Civic Plaza in Surrey City Centre: February 1-18
  •  Vancouver Olympic Village: February 23-March 5

“This is the first time that autonomous vehicles are being considered for large-scale use in the Lower Mainland. We are pleased to showcase a driverless shuttle and use the demonstration as a way to continue the conversation with the public about all the innovative technologies planned as part of our bid,” says Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “Autonomous shuttles are one of the main components of the City of Surrey and the City of Vancouver’s Smart Cities Challenge bid to create Canada’s first two collision-free multimodal corridors using smart mobility technologies.”

“Driverless vehicles are anticipated to eliminate one of the leading contributors to collisions – human error,” says Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “By piloting them on these corridors, we can learn more about how they can be used throughout the region to improve safety, reduce congestion, and create safer, greener, healthier, more connected communities. In Surrey and Vancouver we believe that together, we are leading the way and setting the standard for other cities in Canada to follow for smart mobility.”

It may look like it’s something straight out of the future, but ELA – The EZ10 Driverless Shuttle is already being used in several countries around the world. ELA – short for ELectric Automation – is a fully-accessible, 100% electric vehicle with a battery life of up to 14 hours. It holds up to 12 passengers and will travel at about 12 km/h during the demo but has a maximum travelling speed of 40 km/h.

A driverless shuttle, or autonomous vehicle (AV), uses a combination of sensors, video cameras and computers to understand its surroundings. In the future, city transportation planners envision using AVs to improve safety, enhance sustainability and reduce congestion on busy corridors. During the demos, the shuttle will be separated from traffic to ensure public safety. The shuttle can accommodate wheelchairs, scooters and strollers.

The ELA shuttle will start its journey in Surrey City Centre, and following its visit, will be relocated to the City of Vancouver’s Olympic village. A trained operator will be on board to stop the vehicle if needed, and rides will take approximately five minutes.

To learn more about Smart Cities Challenge bid or to book your free shuttle ride visit www.smartertogether.ca.

In June of this year, the cities of Vancouver and Surrey were shortlisted in Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge. The joint Smart Cities Challenge first stage application was chosen out of 130 submissions to be among the five finalists vying for the top category of federal funding of smart city projects designed to improve the quality of life of city residents.

The City of Vancouver and City of Surrey are now in the process of composing their final application, which is to be submitted by March 5.

If selected by Infrastructure Canada to bring that idea to reality, the cities will share $50 million in prize money as part of the Smart Cities Challenge.

If chosen as the winning submission, both cities would demonstrate the path to safer, healthier and more connected communities while reducing emissions, improving transportation efficiency and enhancing livability in the face of rapid growth and traffic congestion.