Testing space age driverless shuttle bus in Dublin’s Docklands 2018 | Season 2 – Episode 11
Wheels Mar 23, 2022
An insight to the future of urban transport came to Dublin in 2018. It was in the form of the EasyMile EZ10 a battery-powered autonomous electric bus. The driverless shuttle was being tested in Dublin’s Docklands as part of a special event organised by Dublin City Council. This was the Council’s contribution to the wider European Mobility Week. It brought a glimpse of smart and sustainable autonomous transport would look like.
The EZ10 can carry up to 15 people and is ideal for ‘last mile’ transportation in particular. It features a built-in access ramp for passengers with reduced mobility. Also there is no need for additional road infrastructure to operate the vehicle. The vehicle has ‘state of the art’ smart technologies with advanced cameras, processors, and sensors that enable it to run smoothly.
The shuttle route ran for nearly one kilometre with four stops in place from the Dublin Convention Centre to the 3 Arena. The EZ10 vehicle is equipped with the technology needed for it to know where it is located, where it is going and how to get there. Also what the environmental conditions are and how to adapt behaviour. Using artificial intelligence and a camera system it is even said to be able to read road signs.
The vehicles are pre-programmed by EasyMile engineers or certified partners to run on predefined routes. There internal processing system knows it’s exact position with centimetre level precision, at all times. This is achieved through the use of lasers scanning the environment, cameras, differential GPS and pre-programmed visual locators
Specifically the vehicle has four LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors each scanning 270° and located at each corner of the vehicle. This offers offer a 360° perception of the environment. Any obstacle within 40 meters of the EZ10 will be detected by at least two to three LIDARs. There are also two of these sensors on the roof of the EZ10 to detect fixed elements in the environment (buildings, statues, tree trunks, signs, streetlights, etc.). Finally the vehicle uses an advanced GPS or global navigation satellite system (GNSS) which is updated in real time to ensure vehicle’s positioning is within centimetre accuracy.
The EZ10 autonomous driving system is rated Level 4 based on the Society for Automotive Engineering (SAE) definition of Driving Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles. This means that it can perform all driving tasks and monitor the driving environment. Essentially, do all the driving – in certain circumstances.
The EZ10 system was initially being deployed in closed traffic systems such as a college campus, industrial estate or a large venue or conference complex. In 2018 Jamie Cudden of Dublin City Council, referring to EZ10 and similar systems “We see this playing a real role in cities like Dublin as we are trying to move away from cars in cities.” He further said. “We are excited to give people a glimpse of the future. This is happening around the world, the technology is real and ready to go. We just need to figure out how to adapt it to Dublin.”
Bringing things up-to-date the EZ10 has been deployed in more than 30 cities and 16 countries. It will have its most challenging test when it goes into operation in Toulouse Oncopole medical campus, in September 2022, which is used by pedestrians, bicycles, cars and buses.
Is this the future of Dublin transport?
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