The West Rouge Automated Shuttle Trial used a competitive bidding process to select a vendor to provide the trial vehicle. On October 14, 2020, the City of Toronto announced it had signed an agreement with Local Motors by LM Industries to provide the shuttle vehicle for the trial. The vehicle was Olli 2.0. At the time it was the latest iteration of Local Motors’ 3D printed, electric, self-driving shuttle. Starting in September 2021, the shuttle vehicle underwent testing in mixed traffic on local and arterial roads in Toronto, experiencing a variety of weather conditions including rain and snow.
The Olli 2.0 was a low-speed automated vehicle that was mostly self-driving. It was similar to those used in various trials across North America, and was approved for on-road use under the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario’s Automated Vehicle pilot. When in operation, a human attendant would always be on-board, capable of taking manual control if needed and making decisions when the shuttle was uncertain about ability to proceed. It was capable of providing audio and visual announcements both inside and outside the vehicle.
The shuttle was equipped with redundant LiDar and radar sensors to analyze its surroundings and respond to road and traffic conditions around it. Paired with digital mapping of the route, the shuttle used these tools to navigate along a pre-programmed “virtual track.”
One of the objectives of this trial was to learn about the performance of an automated vehicle in a range of weather conditions. During the 2 months of on-road testing, the shuttle vehicle interacted with mixed traffic on local and arterial roads and experienced a variety of weather conditions including rain and snow. From the outset, it was known that heavy rain, heavy snow and fog all impact the effectiveness of the LiDar and radar systems. Cold temperatures (e.g. below -10C) can impact the LiDar as well as decrease the battery’s range.