Self-driving shuttles in North America aren’t limited to the US. The city of Toronto has struck a deal with Local Motors to use the latest version of its Olli driverless shuttles as part of an automated transportation trial in spring 2021. The six- to 12-month test run will gauge how well the autonomous vehicles will bolster Toronto’s mass transit system by connecting the West Rouge neighborhood with its local Go train station.
The Olli 2.0 shuttles have space for up to eight passengers. Commuters won’t be completely alone, though — two staffers (one from Pacific Western Transportation and one from either TTC or Metrolinx) will be onboard to study each trip.
The shuttles could eventually fill gaps in Toronto’s sprawling public transportation network, making for a more equitable system that doesn’t punish you for living too far from a bus or train stop. Its effectiveness might be limited as the COVID-19 pandemic continues (hopping into a small vehicle with strangers could be nerve-wracking), but it hints at a future where you can easily avoid car ownership.