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Residents invited to explore their city on Edmonton’s new electric shuttle

The 12-passenger, fully autonomous ELA shuttle is shown in Calgary. A similar one will soon be hitting the streets of Edmonton.
The 12-passenger, fully autonomous ELA shuttle is shown in Calgary. A similar one will soon be hitting the streets of Edmonton. Reid Feist / Global News

The City of Edmonton is launching its electronic autonomous vehicle, or ELA, and it’s looking to residents to provide feedback.

For three weeks in October and into November, residents can go to three different neighbourhoods across the city to take a ride on the electric autonomous shuttle.

READ MORE: Edmonton pilot project to test electric autonomous vehicles this fall

“Transportation and vehicle technology is evolving quickly and cities are at the forefront of this change,” Mayor Don Iveson said in a release. “It’s important we start to understand potential uses and impacts as well as our citizen perceptions.”

ELA will available to ride from Oct. 9 to 16 at Blatchford, Oct. 17 to 21 in Chappelle Gardens and Oct. 22 to Nov 4 in Old Strathcona.

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The EasyMile EZ10 driverless shuttle will look like the one shown in this handout.
The EasyMile EZ10 driverless shuttle will look like the one shown in this handout. Kendra Slugoski, Global News

People interested in riding ELA can either drop by or sign up online to skip the line.

During the pilot, the shuttle will be separated from traffic and will have a trained operator who can stop the vehicle at any point.

READ MORE: University of Alberta gets $500K for automated vehicle research

The vehicle, which can hold up to 12 people and travels at around 12 km/h, is fully accessible for people who use wheelchairs.

“It’s a pretty open space, there’s two benches on either side,” Stephanie McCabe with the city said. “There’s space for strollers so we’re encouraging families to come down and see the shuttle running.  There’s an operator there, just in case the entire time. There will always be an operator. It can fit up to 11 people, six sitting and five standing.”

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ELA is manufactured by EasyMile. The company says it has more than 170 incident-free deployments in more than 20 countries.

– With files from Scott Johnston, 630 CHED