Its name is Olli 2.0 and it will be Toronto’s first ever automated, driverless shuttle bus when it arrives in spring of 2021.
The City of Toronto announced Wednesday that it had signed an agreement with Phoenix-based Local Motors to deliver an electric, automated shuttle for a six-to-12 month trial period.
The shuttle bus can seat up to eight passengers, is wheelchair-accessible, and provides audio and visual announcements.
The single automated vehicle being used for the pilot project will cater to Scarborough residents living in a transit dead-zone and transport them to the Rouge Hill GO station.
“It’s a long walk for residents to get out to the Lawrence bus, so this will shorten their commute time and hopefully encourage more residents to take public transit,” said Scarborough-Rouge Park councillor Jennifer McKelvie.
She adds that the more use the shuttle bus gets, the better the chances that the city will order more of the autonomous vehicles.
“Success will be based on ridership and it will be in showing residents are comfortable in using this new technology and ultimately they’re taking it to the Rouge Hill GO station so that they can use it for their commute daily to work.”
The project, called the Automated Shuttle Trial, is in partnership with Metrolinx with funding from Transport Canada.
“Transport Canada is providing a contribution of $365,000 for service preparation, delivery and evaluation,” said Toronto’s Transportation Services spokesperson, Eric Holmes.
“The project partners (City of Toronto, TTC and Metrolinx) are also contributing in-kind support, such as staff time and other resources, and the City is providing some financial support. The procurement of the shuttle itself is included as part of the overall program delivery costs.”
The City of Toronto adds that two staff members will be on board for every trip to monitor and learn from the trial runs.
Local Motors has already deployed the Olli shuttle bus “around the world, including in California, Florida and Belgium” according to the company.
Meanwhile, another project partner, Pacific Western Transportation, has also led shuttle trials in Alberta and British Columbia.