by Tiana May
24 Apr 2023
EasyMile’s autonomous shuttles operating across the Terhills tourist site in Belgium have commenced fully driverless service, running with Level 4 automation.
The shuttles are now transporting passengers with no human attendant on board, which is a first for autonomous driving in Belgium.
This milestone follows EasyMile’s first fully driverless deployment in France at the end of 2022.
Terhills is located in Dilsen-Stokkem and Maasmechelen, Belgium and includes the Terhills Resort, Terhills Hotel, Terhills Cablepark, Elaisa Wellness and the main gateway to the National Park. It welcomes about 1 million visitors and overnight guests each year, while the nearby Maasmechelen Village has about 2.5 million annual visitors that can also visit the site.
LRM, the investment company behind the Terhills project, decided to deploy driverless shuttles across this tourist hotspot to offer a convenient mobility solution for visitors.
“We are very proud to announce that our shuttles can now transport visitors fully autonomously and without a human security guard on board. This is unique in Belgium and also a great rarity at the European level!”
Currently, two shuttles connect all the attractions at the site in a 4.5 kilometres loop. The shuttles run 8 hours a day and can each accommodate up to 12 passengers.
This service initially started transporting passengers in November last year with a human supervisor on board.
Now that a human attendant is no longer required on board, the shuttles are supervised remotely from a control room.
A further phase of this project will also follow to include adjustments to the road infrastructure and the construction of additional bus stops. In addition, the fleet will be expanded to 5 shuttles.
Unlike many trials using autonomous shuttles, this service will be a long-term deployment, as EasyMile has committed to providing Terhills with an autonomous transport network for 10 years.
“Progressing to Level 4 is not just a technological achievement, it is a critical milestone in demonstrating the value of a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles. By removing human supervision on board individual vehicles and replacing it with remote supervision of multiple vehicles, cost and time efficiency, scalability and flexibility are unlocked. We are showing that driverless shuttles are not only truly capable of manoeuvring and navigating complex scenarios on their own, but that they are also commercially viable.”
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