Autonomous shuttle project uses GNSS technology

Autonomous transportation systems are one of the most exciting frontiers of assured positioning development. With Hexagon | NovAtel® GNSS technology, we’re primed to be at the forefront of the advancement of intelligent and autonomous vehicles. We demonstrated our assured positioning technology with an autonomous shuttle in Calgary, Alberta, in September of 2018.

Alberta-based Pacific Western Transportation (PWT), in conjunction with TELUS, ATCO and the Canadian Federal Government’s Program to Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System (ACATS), facilitated the people of Calgary experiencing the first autonomous shuttle in Western Canada.

Electric Autonomous, or ELA, is a fully accessible, 12-passenger vehicle that transported people between the Calgary Zoo and the TELUS Spark Science Centre as part of a pilot project to test the long-term feasibility of autonomous technology in the City of Calgary.

Assured Positioning on the Road

ELA was built by EasyMile, a leading developer of smart mobility solutions that target short distance requirements. EasyMile used GNSS technology from NovAtel for high-accuracy positioning solutions. The autonomous shuttle navigates using signals it receives from about 20 satellites orbiting earth, similar to how a car’s GPS works, but with far greater accuracy.

A battery of sensors guided ELA on a pre-determined route. The NovAtel ProPak6™ triple-frequency GNSS receiver integrated into the vehicle’s navigation system provides centimeter-level accuracy, keeping the vehicle on the route. Equipped with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), ELA can avoid obstacles in its path. LiDAR uses pulses of laser light to detect objects or people. As it travels at around 12 kilometres an hour, it can easily detect obstructions. If any object comes too close or obstructs its route, ELA stops automatically.

ELA shuttled 4,476 passengers during the 33 days of operation in Calgary. Since then, ELA has gone across Canada, continuing to transport passengers over short distances on closed roadways. Keep up with where ELA will be next at

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