The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently conducted an experiment at Newark Airport to test a driverless shuttle van. The one-month pilot project, conducted in partnership with STV and Perrone Robotics, aims to explore the potential future of autonomous vehicles in the travel industry.
The 14-passenger Green Power AV-Star shuttle was equipped with autonomous driving technology, including sensors, cameras, and mapping functionalities provided by Perrone Robotics. The shuttle underwent testing on a safety course with simulated car and pedestrian obstacles in a closed parking lot, as well as nighttime testing on airport roads, including arrival roadways and complex merges.
One notable aspect of the experiment is that it marked the first time an autonomous vehicle took to a public road in the state of New Jersey. However, the shuttle did not pick up passengers and always had a safety driver onboard as a backup. It also adhered to a maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour.
Prior to the launch of the driverless shuttle van, the Port Authority ensured that a mandatory safety plan involving all stakeholders was in place. The project received support from several organizations, including the New Jersey governor’s office, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, as well as NJ Transit, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and local municipalities such as Newark and Jersey City.
The Port Authority’s Executive Director, Rick Cotton, emphasized the agency’s commitment to technological advancements and engineering breakthroughs. He stated, “Being the first to bring driverless vehicles to New Jersey roads is the latest example of the Port Authority pushing the envelope when it comes to keeping the region moving.”
The Newark pilot project follows previous tests of autonomous platooned vehicles at John F. Kennedy International Airport and autonomous technology on platooned commuter buses in the Lincoln Tunnel’s exclusive bus lane. The Port Authority aims to leverage emerging technology to improve the speed, efficiency, and reliability of transportation.
[Sources: Not provided.]