WePod shuttle carries handful of people on 200m journey in first trial of its kind – with hopes to extend systems to cargo trucks.
Several trials of autonomous vehicles are under way in the automotive and technology industries, from Tesla’s Model S sedan, which can change lanes with minimal driver input, to plans by Google and Daimler to introduce driverless vehicles.
“There are initiatives all over the world, but this is the first time one will operate without a driver, on a public road,” said Iris van Cattenburch of Connekt, a group of companies developing sustainable public transport.
The project will be expanded in coming months and will eventually be used as public transport along a 4-mile route in the town, she said.
In April, the Netherlands will hold the first trial of driverless semi-trucks at the port of Rotterdam, with the aim of sending cargo using autonomous road trains from Europe’s biggest port throughout the continent by 2019.
The trial of the WePod was developed with Delft Technical University for roughly €3m (£2.3m). When fully operational, the WePods will travel at 15mph.