The autonomous vehicle ranks among innovative technologies currently in development with the potential to profoundly change the way cities and societies are organized. As a result, the city of Montréal has launched a reflection process to consider the impact the arrival of these vehicles will have in the municipal sphere. This reflection will be undertaken and enriched by the implementation of pilot projects through which it will be possible to acquire knowledge relevant to our understanding of this new form of mobility.
Beyond a technological evaluation of the maturity of this type of vehicle, the objective of this testing is to begin a reflection and start to work on all the changes that will be needed to accommodate these vehicles. Another objective consists of evaluating how these vehicles can help improve urban life. The guiding principle governing the automated shuttle pilot project is an evaluation of the integration of this new service within the city’s transportation offering, with a view towards sustainable mobility and according to citizen needs and expectations. Within this context, the Lab is working with the city’s internal and external partners to develop a complete approach that will evaluate not only the impact on infrastructure, but also ethical and social acceptability questions.
These experimental projects will, among other things, allow the city to evaluate the degree of current technological advances in the field of autonomous vehicles with respect to the Montreal environment. These various tests also allow the city to develop its expertise, determine regulatory changes and ultimately influence technological development. This will ultimately allow the proposal of trials or of even more advanced and innovative mobility offers. Tests of autonomous vehicles on its territory, as conducted by the Lab, reflect the city’s desire to better understand this new technology in order to ensure that it meets the needs of the population. Accordingly, public participation in such testing programs is desirable.
As the end-users of these initiatives, citizens engaging with these projects share their feedback through measurement tools. This approach is made possible thanks to a grant available through the government of Québec’s Sustainable Mobility Policy 2030. An autonomous shuttle pilot project is currently underway. Details are available at https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/navetteautonome