The pilot involving an autonomous shuttle, currently running between the main entrance of the Ommelander Ziekenhuis and the nearest bus stop in Scheemda, is to be extended until the end of this year.
Over the past months the pilot has proven to be a success. Already over 3000 people have made use of the autonomous shuttle service. Passengers respond favourably: they appear to evaluate the shuttle as a quite effective service while travelling to the hospital.
During the following months the aim is to learn even more from this pilot. The focus in this context shall be on the introduction of the digital driving license as well as on the possibility of integrating the autonomous shuttle on a larger scale within the local public transportation system. In addition, the shuttle shall be tested under various speeds and traffic regulations as well as in different traffic conditions, which shall also include other automotive traffic. Due to these tests, the shuttle service shall, on occasion, not be available, in which case substitute transportation shall be provided.
The shuttle has been operational between the main entrance and the bus stop from August last year. Patients, visitors as well as hospital employees are all being offered free transportation during the pilot period and are also encouraged to share their experiences via a user study.
The shuttle pilot is a collaboration of the Province of Groningen, the Ommelander Ziekenhuis, the Arriva transportation company, the RDW (the Dutch Vehicle and Driver Licensing Authority) and the autonomous shuttle supplier NAVYA. It is the first autonomous shuttle pilot in the Province of Groningen, which includes actual passenger transportation.
Next year, a decision regarding possible follow-up steps shall be made based on the pilot results as well as further research and evaluation.