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Current Autonomous Shuttles and the Latest Concept for the Future

The company EasyMile has just launched its latest generation of the EZ10 electric autonomous shuttle. It is claimed to be the first shuttle ready for operations without an onboard attendant [1]. Scania has also released a new vehicle in the form of a modular concept for the future of urban traffic [2].

EasyMile’s new iteration of the EZ10 shuttle can carry up to 15 people and is more easily accessible to people with reduced mobility thanks to the automated inbuilt ramp and wheelchair anchor points. The shuttle’s sensors have been redesigned and optimised for more accurate vision even in challenging weather conditions. For the past eight months, the company has been running one of the first deployments that is purely relying upon a remote supervisor [1].

Moving from present-day solutions to concepts for the future, Scania’s new battery electric self-driving urban concept “NXT” is designed with the flexibility to shift from transporting commuters in mornings and evenings, delivering goods during the day and collecting refuse at night. The company has developed a vehicle with a modular system that can change shape for these varying urban assignments, where the front and rear drive modules can be fitted to a bus body, a distribution truck body or a refuse collector.

“NXT is a vision of the future for transport in cities. Several of these technologies have yet to fully mature but for us it’s been important to actually build a concept vehicle to visibly and technically demonstrate ideas of what is within reach,” says Scania’s President and CEO Henrik Henriksson [2].

 

Personal comments

EasyMile shows that a relatively small company (approx. 170 employees) can develop and start testing and deploying automated/autonomous solutions here and now, gradually trying to increase the capabilities and possible operational design domains of the vehicles. The company is mainly focusing on the software side of autonomous technology which would open for implementation in many future types of vehicles.

We have previously seen different electric autonomous concepts with a modular approach (i.e. Toyota “e-palette” and Mercedes-Benz “Vision Urbanetic”) envisioning future urban mobility of people and goods. Separating the drive train from the functional space of the vehicle could be a good way to maximize the utility of resources and hopefully increase the circularity of the parts and products.

 

Written by Victor Malmsten Lundgren, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2019-06-10. EasyMile launches new EZ10 driverless shuttle featuring innovative safety architecture and enhanced passenger experience.

2. 2019-06-10. Taking urban transport to the NXT level – a new concept from Scania.