A number of autonomous vehicle tests are currently taking place in the US. Two of these are Columbus, Ohio and Babcock Ranch, Florida.
The city of Columbus has partnered with May Mobility – an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based autonomous vehicle (AV) startup – to launch a fleet of six-seat, driver-less, electric shuttles along a 2-3 mile (3-5 km.) test route through downtown. Initially running without passengers, the company expects to start adding passengers on December 1, 2018, and the city also plans to eventually deploy shuttles along other routes.
The all-electric shuttles can travel up to 25 mph (40 km/ph) and are equipped with a panoramic glass roof and a 49-inch digital display that provides riders with system and route information. Each shuttle has six seats and is staffed with a human “fleet attendant” who oversees the operation of the vehicle and can take control at any time.
Babcock Ranch, Florida will run the world’s first on-road tests of an autonomous school shuttle from Transdev this fall. The shuttle will transport up to 12 children and will operate from a designated pick-up spot on a pre-set route with a safety attendant on board. Future plans would have the school shuttle service available to students and parents on demand – door to door – using an integrated app on their smartphones.
The shuttle – known as the EasyMile Easy10 Gen II – runs on electricity, has a maximum speed of 12 mph (20 km/ph), and brakes automatically and swiftly when obstacles are detected. Transdev is the mobility provider for Babcock Ranch, the nation’s first solar-powered community located just northeast of Fort Myers, Florida. School shuttle service is part of an overall strategic plan to deliver autonomous technology designed around the needs of Babcock Ranch residents. Eventually grocery delivery, package delivery and door-to-door self-storage pickup and drop off will be offered.