Nation’s largest fleet of autonomous, electric shuttles launches in Colorado
AvCo begins driverless transit service at Colorado School of Mines
Autonomous Vehicles Colorado (AvCo), a program designed to improve public transportation using advanced technologies, announced today the deployment of the nation’s largest fleet of low-speed, autonomous electric shuttles in multiple cities across Colorado.
Service in the first of three locations officially launched today at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. For at least the next year, the autonomous shuttle buses will connect Mines students, faculty, staff and the general public with key destinations in the city and around campus that currently lack convenient mobility options. The shuttles will safely navigate regular traffic using advanced sensors and technology, signaling a major step forward for the industry and the largest opportunity yet for the public to experience an autonomous public transit service.
“When people think of autonomous vehicles today, they see themselves riding alone - separated from other people and the overall transportation system. We want AvCo to change that perception by allowing people to experience how these technologies can maximize individual and societal benefits through integration with a shared public transit system,” said Tyler Svitak, Executive Director of the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, the nonprofit at the center of the AvCo program. “AvCo is a historic step forward for many important industries, including connected and autonomous vehicles, public transportation, and smart cities. What we learn here will help accelerate safer, cleaner, more accessible mobility for all.”
The first phase of the program includes a fleet of nine driverless, zero-emission EZ10 shuttles from technology-provider EasyMile, powered exclusively by Siemens VersiCharge AC chargers, to connect Colorado School of Mines’ central campus, athletics complex, student housing and downtown Golden. The low-speed shuttle service in Golden is designed to operate in normal traffic and is named The Mines Rover. It is free of charge and available to the public. Each shuttle can hold six seated passengers, and each shuttle will also have an onboard customer service ambassador, a trained Mines student, who will engage with riders and take over manual control of the shuttle if necessary. The shuttle will operate along three fixed routes with designated shuttle stops and will arrive every 5-10 minutes along the routes.
“At Colorado School of Mines, our students and faculty are conducting research on the cutting edge of autonomous and intelligent systems. This partnership is a natural extension of our mission of advancing knowledge and innovations that will have a transformative impact on society,” said Paul C. Johnson, President of Colorado School of Mines. “We are excited and proud that Mines and our hometown of Golden will be the test bed for this new technology, which will lead to new developments in how it is improved and scaled up so that the environmental and human benefits can be extended well beyond Mines, Golden, and our state.”
The City of Golden has been an essential partner to the success of this project, helping to design and support implementation of the autonomous transit service in the City.
Golden Mayor Laura Weinberg said of the project, “The City of Golden is thrilled to be the first city in Colorado to offer zero-emission, autonomous microtransit. We thank our partners on this collaboration and the opportunity to advance our transportation sector community goals of 20% fossil fuel-free by 2030 and 100% fossil fuel-free by 2050.”
The EZ10 shuttles are 100 percent electric, reducing the life cycle of climate-warming gases by 90 percent compared to similar, gasoline transit vehicles, which aligns with state and federal priorities to electrify the transportation sector. The shuttles safely navigate complex environments using advanced sensors, cameras and LiDAR that never get distracted, limiting the risk of human error that contributes to 94 percent of vehicle-related fatalities from the equation. The shuttles are ADA accessible and will show how people with disabilities can have enhanced mobility options from this technology.
Phases two and three of AvCo plan to launch in Greenwood Village and Colorado Springs, respectively, over the course of the next year to demonstrate the shuttles’ ability to operate in different environments, reduce carbon emissions associated with transit and fill different mobility gaps across the state.
“We are proud to further support Colorado’s position as a hub for advancing technology and innovation,” said Senator John Hickenlooper. “Automation and electrification are promising opportunities to improve transportation safety, cost, and environmental impact.” Senator Hickenlooper also signed legislation, Senate Bill 17-213, enabling highly autonomous vehicles in Colorado that paved the way for AvCo while he was governor.
AvCo is the result of a unique partnership model involving multiple stakeholders essential to the program’s success, with major technology providers and consultants, including EasyMile, Siemens eMobility solutions, Stantec GenerationAV, Panasonic, and HxGN SmartNet; several cities and supporting organizations, including Colorado School of Mines, City of Golden, City of Colorado Springs, City of Greenwood Village, Denver South, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT); sponsors including McKinstry, LLC; and the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, which is working to coordinate all stakeholders and project resources.
The Colorado Smart Cities Alliance is a statewide organization that brings together government, businesses and allied organizations to improve life for all Coloradans through creation of innovative technology partnerships. The organization accelerates civic innovation in Colorado through Partnership Building, Research, Education and Consulting. Learn more about the Alliance, its partners, research and current projects at http://coloradosmart.city.
EasyMile is a leader in software and complete solutions for driverless goods and passenger transport, and EasyMile is the number one provider of autonomous shuttles in the world. It partners with blue-chip manufacturers to automate their vehicles with award-winning technology built on safety-by-design, ready for deployment today, with clear client benefits.
Since 2014, the company has become known for quality delivery and real-world deployments. EasyMile’s proven technology has driven autonomously in 300+ locations in more than 30 countries, over 800,000km. With several mass operations around the world EasyMile was the first to deploy fully driverless at Level 4 of autonomous driving. It is also the first autonomous vehicle solutions provider to be ISO 9001:2015 certified. EasyMile has more than 250 employees in five locations (Toulouse, Berlin, Denver, Singapore and Adelaide), doubling its headcount every 2 years. For more information, please visit www.easymile.com.
Colorado School of Mines is a public university focused on science and engineering, dedicated to educating and inspiring students, advancing knowledge, and innovating to address the great challenges society faces today—particularly those related to earth, energy and the environment. Founded in 1874 with specialties in mining and metallurgy, Mines’ scope and mission have expanded to meet the needs of industry and society, producing distinctive graduates and revolutionary innovations, and becoming a world leader in advancing sustainable use of the Earth’s resources. For more information, go to www.mines.edu.