First Transit will deliver and operate two autonomous shuttles for rider transport on site
WASHINGTON – August 4, 2020 – US Ignite today announces the selection of First Transit, in partnership with Perrone Robotics, as the autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle provider for the Fort Carson, Colorado, Smart Transportation Testbed, a project funded and managed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). First Transit will deliver and operate two Polaris GEM autonomous shuttles custom-configured by Perrone Robotics using their TONY (TO Navigate You) autonomy kit. The electric AVs, which support Level 5 autonomous capability1, will transport soldiers within the Fort Carson Army installation while also collecting operational data as part of the yearlong pilot.
The goal of the Smart Transportation Testbed is to develop a comprehensive implementation plan for scaling AV technologies at Fort Carson and other military installations throughout the U.S. Over the course of the project the shuttle program will focus on reducing operational costs, improving public safety, and enhancing the lives of soldiers and families living and working at the post.
Unlike many other AV pilots, the initiative at Fort Carson includes a significant focus on transportation planning as well as data analytics, assessment, and modeling for future autonomous shuttle deployments. In addition to sensors and cameras on the vehicles, roadside cameras will be installed and connected to a dedicated wireless network along the route to capture information about the vehicle and pedestrian behavior surrounding the AV shuttles.
“After a rigorous screening process, First Transit was selected based on their industry leading operational expertise and proven track record in successfully delivering on multiple prior AV pilots,” said Eric Werner, Director of Autonomous Vehicle Programs at US Ignite. “We’re thrilled to have the company join our team and to partner in close collaboration with Perrone Robotics as we move forward into the next phase of testbed development.”
“We are proud to bring our extensive shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) experience to the Fort Carson Smart Transportation Testbed initiative,” said Brad Thomas, President of First Transit. “This partnership allows ongoing data and information to be collected in order to continue to enhance the passenger experience on AVs.”
Currently, there are several traditional shuttles operating at Fort Carson to transport soldiers living and working at the installation. The new autonomous shuttles will extend the hours of service to key destinations, adding to the overall transportation capacity. Test operations are beginning now with safety protocols in place to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
1- Level 5 autonomous capability refers to the ability of an AV to operate without a steering wheel or acceleration and braking pedals. The shuttles at Fort Carson will have both a steering wheel and pedals, but the safety operator on board will be able to switch seamlessly between manual and fully autonomous control.
About US Ignite
US Ignite is a high-tech nonprofit with a mission to accelerate the smart community movement. We work to guide communities into the connected future, create a path for private sector growth, and advance technology research that’s at the heart of smarter development. For more information, visit www.us-ignite.org.
About First Transit
First Transit, Inc. has 60 years of experience and is the largest private-sector provider of mobility solutions in North America, moving more than 300 million passengers annually. First Transit, Inc. provides operation, management and consulting for more than 300 locations in 39 states, Canada and Puerto Rico for transit authorities, state departments of transportation, municipalities, hospitals, universities and private companies. First Transit employs more than 19,000 dedicated transit professionals. For additional information, please visit FirstTransit.com. To see how First Transit is leading the way in shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) initiatives, please visit FirstAV.com.