Our second autonomous vehicle pilot will build upon the “lessons learned” from our GCTC 2015 “First Mile/Last Mile” study (GCTC Action Cluster SMOOTH). The City of Columbus was recently named one of the seven finalists in the US Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge. Our GCTC 2016 project will, therefore, concentrate on a scalable and replicable low speed automated shuttle solution for use in the Smart City of Columbus. This automated shuttle solution will use a small (two-seater) electric driverless vehicle with a scalable and replicable software, hardware control and decision making architecture. The eventual aim of the project is pilot deployment in an urban driving environment with low speed vehicles and intersections at/near the outdoor shopping area of Easton Town Center in Columbus. The scalable and replicable approach will enable the easy adaptation of the same system to other parts of the City of Columbus and to other similar pilot deployment sites in other cities in the US.
The City of Columbus is a typical mid-sized city in the U.S. with a steadily growing population. Indeed, the population of Central Ohio where Columbus is located is projected to increase by over 500,000 until 2050. Planning and developing a smart regional transportation system is an important challenge and issue to be addressed. Columbus does have a bus system but it is not easily accessible especially by the people who need it most due to the first-mile and last-mile problem. Being one of the seven finalists in the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge, the City of Columbus has identified the use of automated electric shuttles as a potential solution to this challenge. The use of electric shuttles will also introduce a beneficial environmental footprint. The SmartShuttle project is on the development and use of low speed automated electric shuttles in a typical deployment site, the Easton Town Center outdoor shopping area. It is expected that the SmartShuttle concept will be easily scaled and replicated for use in other deployment sites in the city and in other cities.
• Develop technical expertise
• Build relationships
• Address state legislation
• Address local legislation
• Do proof-of-concept demo
• Scale and replicate for other deployments
We will continue to develop the technical expertise and build the required relationships/partnerships with the private sector, at OSU, other academic and research entities, and with state and federal organizations. New legislation allowing testing of autonomous vehicles with manufacturer license plates has been accepted in Ohio. We will use it for pilot deployments and implementations within Columbus.
We estimate a base budget for the SmartShuttle proof-of- concept” pilot deployment at $300,000 to $400,000 with a cost-sharing approach between government and industry.
If we are awarded the USDOT $40M “Smart City Challenge” we may extend the proof-of-concept testing in Easton Town Center to an actual deployment, with deployments in other parts of the city to follow.
Performance Targets/ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
Improvements will be calculated on a per smart shuttle basis and will be extrapolated based on the number of vehicles planned in actual deployments.
A 20% improvement in the traffic jams in the Easton Town Center area and other SmartShuttle deployment sites as the automated electric vehicles will replace a certain portion of road traffic.
A 50% improvement in solving the first-mile and last-mile problem in the deployment sites. A 20% reduction in air pollution due to traffic in the deployment sites.
The traffic jam improvement will be determined and extrapolated for a larger deployment. The number of people in bus stops using the on-demand automated shuttles will be recorded. The tons of CO2 reduction based on reduced emissions from drive alone vehicles replaced by the electric shuttles will be used for air pollution reduction computation.
There are currently no established standards especially for low speed automated shuttles. Interoperability of shuttles from different vendors using different automation and operation architectures is a serious concern. We will develop a unified and hence interoperable architecture for this purpose. An NSF EAGER project for the NIST GCTC call has been proposed for this purpose.
Replicability, Scalability, and Sustainability:
The automated shuttles used will have a scalable and unified automation solution, making the results easily transferrable to other vehicle types and other pilot deployment. This will enable the scaling and replication of the automated shuttle solution in Easton Town Center to other parts of Columbus (downtown area, OSU campus) and to other cities.
We will be providing a full mobility solution to people who could not easily commute to work due to the first-mile, last-mile problem increasing their chances of getting a job. There will be a reduction in traffic jams, which will increase the quality of life of those people who are affected by it. There will be an improvement in air quality and heavily populated area due to the use of electric vehicles. Columbus and Ohio will experience economic growth due to the new jobs created by the automated shuttle industry including development, operation and maintenance.
Phase I Demonstration June 2016:
The demonstration in June 2016 will use a street legal and automated two seat neighborhood electric vehicle. This vehicle is already equipped with 4G connectivity by Verizon. This demo will show its architecture and its automated driving capabilities.
Phase II Demonstration June 2017:
The aim of the June 2017 proof-of-concept demo is to use the same automated neighborhood electric vehicle in the Easton Town Center outdoor shopping area within a mixed traffic environment with other vehicles and pedestrians. Success of the Smart City Challenge application of the City of Columbus will have an important impact on this second demo as the Easton Town Center will have a fleet of autonomous electric vehicles operating in a loop in that case. This will ease the demo deployment which is aimed at the inner loop in the Easton Town Center area. The City of Portland is also a Smart City Challenge finalist. If the City of Portland is successful in its Smart City Challenge proposal, the results will be transferred to a chosen site in Portland. The cities of Greenville, Boston and Washington D.C. are also interested in deploying the results of the SmartShuttle technical cluster and will have the chance to do so by working with the cluster leads and the manufacturer of the automated vehicle.
Team Information: Team Lead:
Randy Bowman, [email protected]