By Josh Cohen.
When the robot revolution comes and intelligent machines rule over humans, Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) may well share some of the blame. Covering a region just east of San Francisco, CCTA wants to help bring self-driving vehicles from concept to reality. In October 2014, the agency opened GoMentum Station at a former naval base in Concord, to serve as an autonomous vehicle testing ground and has since partnered with Honda and other companies experimenting with self-driving cars.
Now CCTA is launching a pilot program to test self-driving shuttle buses called Shared Driverless Vehicles (SDV), an experiment they hope may someday serve as a viable option for first mile/last mile travel between transit hubs and short, intra-city trips.
CCTA is partnering with EasyMile, a French driverless vehicle maker, to bring at least two of their EZ10 SDVs to an office park called Bishop Ranch in San Ramon (about a half-hour drive east of Oakland), after they’ve been tested at the GoMentum site. The boxy, electric EZ10s are 13 feet long, seat six with room for six more to stand, and have a top speed of 25 mph. The shuttles use internal mapping software to plot their routes and external sensors to help them not hit people and things.
This pilot project will be first to bringSDVs to the U.S., but EasyMile says it’s got EZ10s currently operating in France, Spain, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands