The Netherlands has started testing WEpod – a driverless vehicle that can run at a maximum speed of 40 km per hour – on public roads in the central Dutch town of Wageningen in Gelderland province.Pic credit: WEpod
The self-driving battery powered car being run at a speed of 25 km per hour during the test phase due to safety reasons can cover approximately 100 km in a single charge.
It can operate on its own using maps, cameras, radar sensors, laser sensors and other onboard computers, taking decisions like braking and steering maneuver, with a control room monitoring the car and the road.
There are several initiatives driverless cars around the world, but those vehicles run on routes specially made for them. WEpod however will run on public roads amid “normal” traffic without a driver.
Having cabin for six persons, automated door and platform lift for wheelchairs, Wepod does not require a steering wheel or pedals.
According to WEpod’s website https://www.gelderland.nl/wepods, the vehicle is having its trial run on the campus of Wageningen University. Later, the trial will be expanded to other routes including the one connecting the university with local intercity-railway station.
“With this project, we are taking new steps towards making self-driving transport a reality in practice,” the website quoted the Netherland Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen as saying.
Partners in the WEpod project include navigation provider Mapscape, Robot Care Systems and the Technical University of Delft while the WEpod vehicle has been supplied by EasyMile.