With continuous innovation in the transportation industry, comes a great opportunity to embrace and explore the potential of rising advancements.
In 2018, PWT, along with the City of Calgary and City of Edmonton announced that they would be championing the first-ever Autonomous Vehicle Shuttle pilot program to take place in Canada, known as ELA.
“ELA” stands for Electric Autonomous. The unit has an 8 -12 passenger capacity and operates independently of a steering wheel. The navigation system uses 3D mapping, GPS localization, advanced LiDAR sensors, and video cameras to steer the vehicle along its path and react to any unexpected elements in real-time. A cell signal is used to transfer general vehicle data, the same way Zonar and SMI systems work on school buses and motorcoaches; this signal connects through a 4G cell network. The unit is 100% electric and requires regular charging to recharge the battery life of up to 14 hours.
The autonomous vehicle used in ELA’s various pilot projects is manufactured by EasyMile. The vehicles are safe and have been deployed in over 170 locations around the world, in 20 different countries, and four continents. Throughout these deployments, there has been continual evolution and improvements made to the technology, taking into account the countless hours of operation and experiences of several hundred thousand passengers throughout the world.
Under the supervision of an onboard PWT attendant at all times and operates at low speeds, is fully accessible, and is equipped with an automatic access ramp for those with mobility challenges.
To date, ELA has been a part of 10 pilot projects in Canadian urban landscapes spanning from Alberta to British Columbia, allowing 11,749 people to experience autonomous technology. Going forward, the Pacific Western Group of Companies will continue leading the way in innovation in the Canadian transportation industry. Being the largest privately-owned people transportation company in Canada, PWT has been making strides in the industry since 1957. Our exploration with autonomous technology emphasizes that PWT has long been a leader in innovation, and will continue to open the door to future opportunities in the realm of autonomous technology.