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Autonomous Vehicle Demos in Jacksonville, Austin

The Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority (JTA) and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro), Austin, TX, recently hosted demonstrations of the 12-person EasyMile EZ10 autonomous shuttle vehicle for possible future use.

JTA is considering replacing its existing driverless Skyway vehicles after more than 25 years of service with the EZ10 as part of modernizing the 2.5-mile line. The agency’s board of directors has authorized staff to begin work on development of the Ultimate Urban Circulator Program (U²C), which will use the Skyway’s existing resources and maximize emerging technology to improve the service in and around downtown Jacksonville.

Capital Metro joined RATP Dev, parent company of McDonald Transit, in deploying the autonomous shuttle vehicles on a closed course on the University of Texas at Austin campus. RATP Dev helps Capital Metro manage and operate its entire 269-vehicle fleet.

Earlier this year, DOT selected UT Austin’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR) as a testing site as part of designating the entire state an autonomous vehicle proving ground. The CTR has been developing and exploring technologies that allow vehicles and infrastructure to collect roadway data and then share that data through wireless communication.

“Because transit is not a one-size-fits-all solution to mobility challenges, we are actively working to identify cost-effective technologies that will allow us to better match our services to the needs of the community,” said Wade Cooper, chairman of the Capital Metro Board of Directors.

Previously, First Transit tested autonomous shuttles in an office park in California and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Keolis and the manufacturer NAVYA collaborated on a week-long pilot of an autonomous, fully automatic shuttle on public roadways in Las Vegas.

A passenger boards JTA’s autonomous shuttle vehicle. The EasyMile EZ10 shuttle operated by Capital Metro and RATP Dev tested various technologies at the University of Texas at Austin.

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