Why the name ‘WEpod’? A pod is the common name for a (small) automated vehicle. Pod refers to a shell for precious content. WE stands for Wageningen and Ede and for everybody (we) who are involved in the project: the province, FoodValley Region, the project group, residents, users etc. WE shows that we are doing it together and that we can be proud, if we turn this project thanks to everyone’s contribution into success.
The first self-driving electric shuttle for use on public roads has been delivered to the Netherlands. The “WEpod” will take passengers between the two towns of Wageningen and Ede in the province of Gelderland from November.
Autonomous public transportation does exist in other parts of the world, such as the ParkShuttle bus in Rotterdam, the Heathrow Pod in London and the LUTZ Pathfinder in Milton Keynes, which run on special single trajectory lanes, or in pedestrianised areas. The WEpods in Gelderland will drive on regular roads amongst public traffic.
During its test phase it will not travel in challenging conditions, such as in rush hour traffic, at night or in bad weather. A control room will monitor the vehicle and safety of its passengers. The six-person vehicle has a maximum speed of 25 kilometres per hour.
The WEpod team intend to equip the vehicle with additional technical equipment such as cameras, radar, laser and GPS to track the environment the vehicle will travel in.
According to Joris Ijsselmuiden, a researcher at Wageningen University which is testing the pods, the vehicles will also be equipped with multiple cameras. The cameras are used to map landmarks, which is used as an alternative navigation tool when GPS accuracy is masked by road obstacles like trees.
Credit : Top_ pict