Hasselt to launch autonomous shuttle experiment

The city of Hasselt (Limburg) is planning an experiment with a self-driving shuttle. The project is intended to try out an autonomous connection between the parking of the Trixxo Arena and the PXL academy campus. It’s the second similar project (after Mechelen) on public territory in Flanders.

The shuttle will be available for one month – from October 17th till November 8th – and can seat seven people. It will stop at the Trixxo parking, the Japanese Garden, and the PXL campus. A single trip will take about ten minutes and will be free.

Steward aboard

The shuttle will use the available bikeways and follow a previously prepared 3D map to move autonomously. It will be able to reach a maximum speed of 12 km/hour and will be equipped with motion sensors to avoid collisions. The vehicle will also ‘recognize’ and respect traffic lights.

Today, it still is legally liable to have a steward on board a self-driving vehicle. The steward has to monitor the public road and intervene if necessary. However, the shuttle rides completely autonomously, but since it moves on public grounds, it must have a steward aboard.

Private territory

And that is precisely where it differs from other projects with self-driving vehicles, like the soon-to-be-launched shuttles on the Terhills domain. The latter move on private territory, so they don’t need to be staffed.

The touristic Terhills site in Limburg is located on the former Eisden mining site in the heart of the Euregio region. It covers ​​approximately 365 hectares in Dilsen-Stokkem and Maasmechelen, on the edge of Belgium’s only National Park. Every year, the site welcomes about one million visitors and lodgers.

Terhills

The fully autonomous, unstaffed electric shuttles will cover a 2,5 km route passing by the Terhills Hotel, Elaisa Wellness, Terhills Cablepark, and the main entrance of National Park Hoge Kempen.

The Terhills shuttles will be operational as of November for at least one year. If evaluation after one year turns out to be successful, the project will be prolonged for ten years.

The shuttle buses in Hasselt come from Norway and fit in the European EIT Urban Mobility Living LAPT Project, in which other European cities participate: Helmond (the Netherlands), Praag (Czech Republic), and Kingsberg (Norway).

Mechelen was the first Flemish city to introduce self-riding buses on public territory. Now, Hasselt follows. Earlier, we saw pilot projects on private grounds, like the airport in Zaventem, the site of the Brussels Lion’s Mound, and the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse.

 

 

 

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