WEpod autonomous vehicles operate as temporary bus service
From Tuesday 8 November two self-driving WEpods named WURby and WElly, are operating as a weekly bus service on the campus of Wageningen University and Research. On Tuesdays from 11:00 to 13:00 passengers are welcome to board the bus on its fixed route with 10 stops. TU Delft is one of the partners in this project, contributing to the software and sensors that enable the vehicle to travel autonomously.
The bus service will be tested every Tuesday until the end of the year. During this test phase the WEpods will not be following an official timetable, although they will follow a fixed circular route with ten stops. Each round takes around twenty minutes, depending on how often it has to stop. The service is open to everyone, and each WEpod can carry six people. It is a legal requirement that a steward must be present in the vehicle, so three stewards from WUR and ROC A12 have been trained for this task.
Researchers at TU Delft worked together with Robot Care Systems to develop the sensor system that enables the WEpod to travel autonomously. The vehicles contain radars, lidars (a type of radar that uses lasers), GPS and six cameras. Lasers scanners are used to examine the surroundings and create a virtual map, so that the WEpod can recognise the surroundings and accurately determine its position. The WEpod slows down or stops for other road users as necessary.