Beaumont enters final phase of ELA project

Driverless shuttle will use wireless vehicle-to-infrastructure technology.

The City of Beaumont is once again a first for driverless vehicles in Western Canada.

The first is the city's autonomous vehicle, which will be fully integrated with traffic, pedestrians, and traffic lights.

That comes from the ELA pilot project, which is now in its third and final phase. This last step sees the autonomous shuttles use vehicle-to-infrastructure technology, which allows the vehicle to wirelessly communicate with infrastructure such as traffic lights, lane markings, and signs. Pacific Western Transportation, who runs the program, says this will show them how the technology operates in a variable environment, how residents respond, and how future city planning may roll-out.

The shuttle currently travels an about one-kilometre route north and south on 50 Street.

Mayor John Stewart says the benefit comes in two parts. The first is what it'll teach them about the practicality of the technology, and the other is the notoriety the pilot project is garnering for the community. He says they've received plenty of attention from businesses and communities from all over the world.

The pilot began in May and will wrap-up in October.

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