First Transit partners with Californian authority to trial autonomous vehicles

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First Transit is partnering with the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) to pilot the first operation of a shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) on a public road by a transit agency in the state of California. This is the fifth SAV initiative for First Transit in North America.

The vehicles can carry 12 passengers and can operate for 14 hours on a single charge

The SAV pilot, manufactured by Easy Mile, will connect passengers from the Dublin/Pleasanton Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Dublin, Calif, to nearby shopping and entertainment. The testing phase for this pilot is expected to take two years without passengers.

First Transit will provide operational support, maintenance, and an on-board customer service agent for passenger questions and information.

“We are proud to work with the LAVTA team bringing SAV technology to their passengers and community,” said Justin Pate, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at First Transit.

“After the testing phase, an on-board customer service agent will be available to answer passenger questions about how this technology is advancing to enhance their transit experience.”

The SAV is designed to travel short distances using pre-programmed routes, and is equipped with a sensor and intelligent vehicle system to detect obstacles and avoid collisions. Each SAV can carry 12 passengers and can operate for 14 hours on one battery charge.

“Our team is excited to work with a firm like First Transit that has experience operating and maintaining SAVs,” said Michael Tree, executive director of LAVTA.