Officials in Toronto on Wednesday announced a partnership with Local Motors that’ll bring its electric, self-driving shuttles to the city for a trial run early next year. They won’t be turned loose entirely as there will be a safety driver along for the ride, but… baby steps.
Local Motors will supply the latest iteration of its autonomous shuttle, dubbed Olli 2.0, for the trial. Olli 2.0 can accommodate up to eight passengers and even has an accessibility ramp for wheelchair users.
During the trial period, which will start in the spring of 2021 and run for between six to 12 months, two staff members will be onboard for each and every trip. One will be a safety steward that can take control of the vehicle at any time and the other will be a “customer service ambassador,” presumably there to answer any questions that riders may have.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said the project will provide the city with valuable insight that could help them build a better, more sustainable transportation network.
Ollie may be a first for Toronto but it’s not the first time the self-driving shuttle has been put to use. Local Motors has already deployed the vehicle in neighborhoods, business parks and other low-speed environments across the US – from California to Florida – and even overseas in places like Italy and Belgium.