Driverless e-Shuttles Tested In Europe
While researchers and the media in America have been focused on the development of driverless cars, in Europe the focus is on driverless city shuttle buses. Capable of holding up to 12 passengers, the all-electric vehicles have seen trial deployments in Switzerland, France and Greece. Now the project, dubbed cityMobil2 is headed to Donostia-San Sebastian in the North of Spain, near the border with France.
The buses, which follow a pre-programmed route and use a combination of lasers and ultra-sound to detect and avoid objects from pedestrians to other motor vehicles, will be deployed in the Gipuzkoa Science and Technology Park. The robotic guidance system was developed by the French robotics firm, Robosoft. The vehicles are powered by a fairly simple electric drive system comprised of 72V deep-cycle Trojan lead-acid batteries with a capacity of 225Ah. The motor is a mere 7.5kW (10 hp) controlled by a Curtis controller, the brand usually found in electric forklifts and golf carts. The maximum speed is 32km/h (20 mph) and the range on the flat is between 20-30 km. More specifications are available on the RoboSoft web site.
San Sebastian will be the fourth European city to trial the system. Previously it's been in Lausanne (Switzerland), La Rochelle (France) and Trikala (Greece). The following informational video was produced in Trikala, the first city to deploy the system in its city center.
The plan for the Gipuzkoa Science and Technology Park deployment is to have the shuttles provide 'last mile' connectivity between businesses located in the industrial park and the public transit system.
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