Calgarians able to ride in autonomous vehicle starting Saturday

Sep 4 2018, 9:13 pm

It’s time to take your hands off the steering wheel.

Autonomous vehicles, or “self-driving cars,” have long been the talk of the tech world, though have yet to see the light of day on Canada’s public streets.

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The City of Calgary is stepping up as the first to offer the public a chance at riding in one of these cars, as Electric Autonomous (ELA) will be running a pilot shuttle between The Calgary Zoo and the Telus Spark building starting on Saturday.

The 100% driverless, fully electric vehicle can accommodate seating for 12 passengers, including accessibility for mobility-challenged individuals.

While ELA’s website states that these shuttles can operate on existing roadways, the pilot project in Calgary will be sticking to a cement track between the Zoo and Telus Spark that will not be shared with other vehicles or pedestrians.

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The driver-less car’s route (ridewithela.ca)

The shuttle will also operate at low speeds of around 12 km an hour throughout the month-long testing phase, though we expect that isn’t quite the top speed of the cube-shaped vehicle.

Another pilot project will launch in Edmonton in October, and the data gathered from the two cities will help in determining future technology that may one day see these vehicles sharing the roadways with humans.

The rides will be offered beginning at 10 am on Saturday, September 8 with the initial trip departing from Telus Spark. Following rides will be running at five-minute intervals, and departures will rotate between Telus Spark and the Zoo.

Eager riders can book a seat on one of the first trips by heading over to ELA’s website and registering for free. Walk-ups are also accepted, though seating may be limited.