‘Olli’ the self-driving bus to bridge gap from tram stop to entrance of Maria Middelares General Hospital from 2020

At present, it is already possible to make use of a manned shuttle bus on weekdays between 7.30am and 5.30pm. We are asked increasingly often by patients and visitors to extend this service so that they can use it early in the morning, after visiting hours in the evening and at weekends.

‘Aware of this need, we approached De Lijn during the planning of the new building in the hope that a branch could be created for the bus route, or a shuttle linking the Kortrijksesteenweg stop could be provided. However, it has recently become clear that this is not being considered in the foreseeable future. We therefore decided to look for a sustainable alternative with extended operating times ourselves,’ relates Christophe Mouton, Chief Executive. The hospital issued a tender for a self-driving electric bus that meets the highest safety standards.

Olli provides seating for eight passengers and is wheelchair accessible.

Travelling with ‘Olli’

After the tendering process, the decision was taken to cooperate with LM Industries Group. This American supplier submitted a quote that was the most economical over a period of four years, taking the strict technological and autonomous requirements of the project into consideration.

Olli is already operating successfully in a number of locations worldwide and is now also coming to Belgium. It will premiere at the Maria Middelares General Hospital site early in 2020 at the latest. Olli provides seating for eight passengers and is wheelchair accessible. The self-driving bus will travel on a low-traffic route between the Maria Middelares General Hospital tram stop to the hospital entrance. Equipped with LIDAR sensors and radar, the shuttle has a 360° view of its surroundings, guaranteeing maximum safety. In the initial phase, a staff member will always be on board to assist passengers in familiarising themselves with the technology.

The Vias Institute is taking part in the preparation, design and follow-up of the project. Based on its expertise, the Institute will have an advisory role, and at the same time this project will allow them to increase their own fund of experience with self-driving technologies.

We are very pleased to deploy the newest version of Olli in Europe with the Maria Middelares General Hospital, a forward-thinking institution seeking the best experiences for its patients. While Olli can be customised for any customer or campus, we're excited that the first European deployment of Olli 2.0 will provide patients and families with a better and more comfortable mobility experience on hospital grounds

Vikrant Aggarwal, president of Local Motors