A driverless bus developed by French firm EasyMile is to go into operation at a business park in California and a park in Singapore. The EZ10 is operated entirely autonomously and doesn't even have a steering wheel. EasyMile says it hopes to have 100-200 EZ10s in operation by 2017.
Like the Lutz Pathfinder, the EZ10 is designed for last mile travel, such as between travel hubs and final destinations, or for looped routes within confined areas, like airports, city centers and business parks. For the time being, it will not be used on the road. It differs from the Pathfinder in that it is already in full operation in a number of locations around the world, and can accommodate 12 passengers instead of just two.
The EZ10 is fully electric and is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can be fully charged in eight hours. This gives it up to 12 hours of operation and a range of up to 80 km (50 mi). It has an average cruising speed of up to 20 km/h (12 mph) and a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph).
There is no special infrastructure required for the EZ10 to travel along, unlike with a tram or a train. Instead, a route or "virtual line" is created for the vehicle to follow and it can then repeat continually. A mix of localization navigation obstacle detection/avoidance technologies are used to ensure the EZ10 stays on course and negotiates hazards. Among the sources from which it pulls data are lidar, video, Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and odometry sensors (which estimate change in position over time).
EasyMile also says the EZ10 is protected from being hacked in a number of ways. It will, apparently, stop automatically if asked to deviate from its predefined route, communication to the fleet management management system is encrypted, and the vehicle's safety chain (how it respond to different situations) is independant from the IT network.
The EZ10 will begin a two-week trial on a 1.5-km (0.9-mi) looped route at the 101-ha (250-ac) Gardens by the Bay park in Singapore as soon as December, after which a full-scale roll-out is expected in mid-2016. Another trial project at the Bishop Ranch business park in San Ramon, California, is also slated to begin in mid-2016. They will join other EZ10s that have already been deployed in Finland, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
The video below provides an introduction to Easymile's EZ10 driverless shuttle.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning