NHTSA grants CCTA permission to test shared AVs on public roads

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The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) in California has received permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to test shared autonomous vehicles on public roads within the 600-acre Bishop Ranch business park, where CCTA is leading a pilot demonstration project operating electric, low-speed, multi-passenger autonomous vehicles that are not equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or operator.

CCTA hopes to be the first to devise and fully implement a sustained, comprehensive autonomous vehicle and transit pilot program of this kind in the USA, with autonomous vehicles sharing the road with drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

In March 2017, CCTA, GoMentum Station, Bishop Ranch and EasyMile entered the second phase of testing of the EasyMile shared autonomous vehicles at the Bishop Ranch business park, in San Ramon, California. Advancing to the third phase of testing – which includes operating on public roads within the business park – entails obtaining permission from both the NHTSA and the California DMV. CCTA staff are in active discussions with the DMV to provide the information required by state statute and to secure permission for this next phase of activity on the pilot program.

“We are excited to be at the cutting-edge of innovation in driverless technology with one of the first pilot demonstrations of shared autonomous vehicles on public roads,” said Randy Iwasaki, executive director of the CCTA. “This technology offers an innovative new approach to helping travelers get to transit stations, business districts, and other local amenities without the hassle of driving and parking.

“We expect that these vehicles will solve the so-called ‘first-and-last-mile’ challenge – a solution that could be replicated by many urban and suburban communities across the USA.”

During the third phase of testing, members of the general public will not be able to ride the shared autonomous vehicles on public streets. Only predetermined testers and evaluators chosen from employees from various employers within Bishop Ranch will be able to ride the vehicles as they traverse public streets within the Bishop Ranch business park.

EasyMile shuttles are designed to solve first- and last-mile commuting challenges, providing a zero-emission alternative to help residents connect to their transit centers and reduce congestion in their communities.

October 17, 2017

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive, marine and entertainment divisions. Currently editor of Automotive Testing Technology International, Crash Test Technology International and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as co-chairman of the annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards and can be found sniffing out stories throughout the halls of several of UKI's industry-leading expo events.

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