The Future is Now


We received the City of Vancouver’s notice a few weeks ago in the mail.

There would be lane closure on West 1st Avenue to support a public event to be held between February 18 – March 3, 2019.  ELA was coming to our city.

This past week, Vancouver hosted a free Autonomous Shuttle Demonstration.

ELA, the diminutive of ELectronic Automation, is the future of transportation. Vancouver and Surrey are the first in Canada to have this demonstration. According to local news sources, “ELA…is manufactured by EasyMile, a leading autonomous manufacturer that has deployed driverless shuttles in over 20 countries across Asia-Pacific, the Middle-East, North America, and Europe. The shuttles use a combination of sensors, video cameras, and computers to understand their surrounding.”


Battery Life: up to 14 hours.
Speed: up to 40km per hour
Powered by: Electricity
Capacity: Maximum 12 people per shuttle.

Sleek and confident – those were my first thoughts when I encountered ELA on my walk down 1st Avenue.    In a time of unprecedented discussion on climate change, Vancouver is following on their commitment to Greenest City Action Plans.

The Future is now! Are we ready?

The Future is Now from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.


Driverless vehicles are anticipated to eliminate one of the leading contributors to collisions – human error,” says City of Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “By piloting them on these corridors, we can learn more about how they can be used throughout the region to improve safety, reduce congestion, and create safer, greener, healthier, more connected communities. In Surrey and Vancouver we believe that together, we are leading the way and setting the standard for other cities in Canada to follow for smart mobility.”


23 thoughts on “The Future is Now

  1. What can I say, but BRAVO! for Vancouver. This coming from Québec, the largest producer of electricity in Canada, furnishing much of the electrical power in the New England States, USA.
    Montreal has and is converting its bus service. Most encouraging that at the other end of our country, this ecology consciousness is also alive. Once again, BRAVO Vancouver!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I share your excitement, Jean-Jacques. And how wonderful to hear that Montreal is converting its bus service to electricity. We live in a time of great transition and opportunity – I’m glad that Canadians are embracing ways in which to preserve our environment – very encouraging, indeed. BRAVO!!!! Sending Vancouver sunshine your way!

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    • You will not be surprised then, to learn that EasyMile has its headquarters in Toulouse, France. It is a fairly new company, founded in 2014, but is now recognized as one of the leading companies specializing in autonomous vehicle technology. The last time I went by the “ELA” stop, there was a line-up ready to board. All aboard….

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    • This first week, ELA was becoming accustomed to her surroundings. Not certain what that means, but I think that there is some kind of a learning process that is at work. This week, people are lining up to ride ELA. In fact, there is a webpage where you can “book” a ride. I will keep you posted as more information comes to light. Always, always an adventure.

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    • Thank you for your comment – you’re are right! According to EasyMile website, they are in 20 countries. They have regional offices in Denver USA, Berlin, Germany, Melbourne Australia, and Singapore. Cities are in need of innovative ways in which to transport people efficiently, without adverse effects to the environment. I believe we are going to see some amazing ideas come to fruition in the next decade. Exciting times!

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    • I love were you live! Much like the Industrial Revolution, more and more people are coming to the cities for work reasons. Cities are now finding that people are happier when there are green spaces, and areas where people can walk and feel they are surrounded by nature. So there is a tug and pull, which plays out on our streets and roadways. Vancouver has bike lanes, walking paths, but the problem of moving people from point A (home) to point B (work, shopping etc) remains. We still haven’t made the transition to electric vehicles – but that is coming. In the interim, how to encourage people to use public transit, when the convenience of taking a car is inviting. That was why I asked the question: Are we ready?

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  2. I felt very childlike as I read this and watched the videos. Well, how does it know where to go? How does it know when to stop? How does it know when to start? How does it know there are people waiting to board? Moving into adult mode, my immediate thought was that the City of Boston needs fleets of ELAs.

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    • This would make a great children’s book!! I have been following the idea and progress of AI for a number of years. It’s introduction has been gradual so that what was once the realm of science fiction, is now a reality. Recall Dick Tracy and his amazing “communication” watch. Humans are generally flexible – even the late adopters. Once we accept, we never consider the process behind the technology. Children that remind us to ask those marvelous questions. Thank you for your comment and for connection. – would love to visit Boston one day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right! ELA would make a great children’s book. Perhaps you’re the person to write it? Funny you should mention Dick Tracy and his two-way communication watch. Every time I see someone wearing a Smartwatch, I immediately see Dick Tracy; how’s that for a generational thing?!

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  3. Aaah, I love it. I see another who commented on this post called this little vehicle “cute”. I use that description, as well. What a great addition to any city. I am proud of Vancouver to lead the way. Now with buses, Handy Dart, bicycles and other newer, more efficient
    cars, we may lead the way away from so much pollution.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe that we have reached a tipping point when many ideas will come into being. There are dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to find ways in which to plan cities as if we were small communities. There are many benefits, one of them being that public transportation will become the preferred option. Consider that it only takes about 20 minutes by Skytrain to reach the Vancouver Airport – easy and efficient.


    • ELA has a sleek, sophistication – rock star material!!! The line-ups to ride ELA proved that we are willing to look at different modes of transportation. This is especially important because of our Canadian winters. Standing is sub-zero temperatures waiting for a bus is not for the faint of heart. (I lived in Edmonton and Winnipeg, before landing in Vancouver) Efficient and low-cost public transportation is essential if we are to respond to climate change. Vancouver’s bike lanes are experiencing success, but riding a bike in 30 below zero when snow swirls around and diminishing visibility is a huge barrier. What is encouraging is that we have great minds working on viable solutions – I call them the artist of the road….

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