MnDOT partners with EasyMile for driverless shuttle bus project

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Updated Oct 10, 2017
An EasyMile EZ10 driverless shuttle in Helsinki, Finland. Photo credit: EPFL/Alain Herzog, Wimm ProductionAn EasyMile EZ10 driverless shuttle in Helsinki, Finland. Photo credit: EPFL/Alain Herzog, Wimm Production

A project to bring a driverless shuttle bus to Minnesota has moved closer to fruition with the state department of transportation’s hiring of French company EasyMile to oversee the pilot program that starts in November.

The project will involve testing an autonomous shuttle in cold weather to see how well it operates, according to MnDOT. EasyMile has conducted such cold weather tests in Finland and Norway. The electric shuttle can hold six to 12 people and travels at low speeds on predetermined routes, according to MnDOT.

The company will use an EZ10 electric shuttle bus, which has been used in 14 countries. It has transported 160,000 people for a total of 60,000 miles. MnDOT says it operated in various types of traffic conditions and remained crash-free.

The shuttle will initially be tested at MnDOT’s pavement test facility, MnROAD, on how well it operates in snow and ice, at low temperatures and on salted roads.

Testing is scheduled to end in February, MnDOT says.

To read more about the autonomous shuttle bus pilot project, go to mndot.gov/autonomous.