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Autonomous vehicles operate as temporary bus service at Dutch university

18 November 2016  •  Author(s): Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport

Two WEpod autonomous vehicles entered passenger operation acting as a weekly bus service at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands.

Autonomous vehicles operate as temporary bus service at Dutch University

Credit: Deft University of Technology

On 08 November, two self-driving Wepods named WURby and WElly begun operating as a weekly bus service as part of a trial on the campus of Wageningen University and Research Centre.

Every Tuesday until the end of the year passengers can board the bus at 11am until 1pm, operating on a fixed route with 10 stops. The WEpods will not follow an official timetable during the test phase. Each circular route takes around twenty minutes, depending on how often it has to stop. The service is open to everyone, and each WEpod can carry six people including a steward, which is currently a legal requirement.

Autonomous vehicles operate as temporary bus service at Dutch University

Credit: WEpods

Technology used to develop autonomous vehicles

The technology behind the vehicle has been developed be researchers at Deft University of Technology and Robot Care Systems. A sensor system has been developed which enables the WEpod to travel autonomously. The vehicles contain radars, lidars (a type of radar that uses lasers), GPS and six cameras. Lasers scanners are used to examine the surroundings and create a virtual map, so that the WEpod can recognise the surroundings and accurately determine its position. Furthermore, the self-driving vehicle has been developed to slow down or stop for other road users as necessary.

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