THIS is Belfast's first self-driving bus . . . and it will start carrying passengers from 2025.
Each of the two shuttles will be capable of carrying up to 20 people seated, and 40 in total including standing room.
The shuttles will take passengers around the Innovation District in Belfast's Harbour Estate, as well as tourist attractions such as the revamped Titanic Belfast exhibition.
Details have been revealed for the £11 million Harlander Project, a vital component in Belfast’s sustainable transport plan as current visitor numbers of over 3.6 million people a year are predicted to rise to more than 5.6 million by 2035.
Oxa, one of the world’s leading self-driving vehicle software developers, and eVersum, the electric commercial vehicles and passenger transport solutions specialists, are behind the roll-out of Belfast's autonomous vehicle technology.
The first Belfast Harbour project shuttles are due to enter passenger service in 2025 and it is the latest in a rapidly increasing list of schemes in which Oxa is helping to unlock the benefits of autonomy for people and across industries.
That includes a collaboration with US-based micro-transit provider Beep which is developing shuttle services across 7 American states with 26 customers.
Oxa chief executive Gavin Jackson said: “With eVersum, we can deploy passenger-carrying autonomous shuttle fleets almost anywhere and these flexible forms of transport will become widespread as a way of moving people and goods in a safer, more efficient and faster way.”
He added: “The broader rollout of self-driving vehicles is starting and shuttling can lead the way as the fastest evolving commercial arena for Oxa self-driving technology to make its mark internationally.”
“We are thrilled to announce our participation in the Harlander Project, a ground-breaking initiative backed by the UK government,” said Ben Jardine, chief product officer and chief executive of eVersum UK.
“The project strengthens the recent partnership announced with Oxa and it will propel eVersum’s growth. With Harlander, and with Oxa, we are laying the foundations for commercialising autonomous driving passenger transport across the UK and far beyond.”
The shuttles will be driven by Oxa's high-performance software components which can be integrated into any vehicle to enable safe and efficient self-driving. The system is highly modular and customisable, and can be retrofitted as a complete solution or integrated into co-developed autonomy solutions in full or at a component level.
The eVersum eShuttle is a product developed to embrace the modern day mobility shift of inner-city and last-mile public transportation.
The vehicle is a mid-sized complete low floor accessible shuttle bus which is low noise and designed from the ground up utilising the very latest zero emission technology.
Each shuttle in Belfast will have a human safety operator on board.