The Contra Costa Transportation Authority recently announced that an agreement has been reached between EasyMile and GoMentum Station to allow for prototype testing of driverless vehicles that will service those working around Bishop Ranch, a bustling business park located in San Ramon, Califorinia where several big companies like Ford, General Electric and IBM hold offices.
As part of this agreement, a fleet of EZ10 Shared Driverless Vehicles (SDV), designed and manufactured by Easy Mile, will be used to transport passengers through short distances all over Bishop Ranch. The said SDV’s are actually already being used in a number of bustling areas throughout Spain, France, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
According to EasyMile, their EZ10 driverless shuttles can actually readily operate in three modes. There’s the metro mode wherein the shuttles can be programmed to stop at all stations following a set timetable. Then, there is also the bus mode wherein the shuttle follows a predefined route, but only stops at stations when passengers request to board or get off. Meanwhile, to support the bus mode, the EZ10 shuttles can also operate in a “horizontal lift” mode where the vehicle simple moves back and forth in a single traffic lane or a loop mode where the shuttle just travels in a loop. In addition, EasyMile clients can also choose to operate their EZ10 vehicles in an on demand or taxi mode wherein the vehicle will accept service request to a certain destination by way of a smartphone app.
Each EZ10 driverless shuttle will be able to carry 12 persons maximum, with six seating and six standing. Its cruising speed is at 20 km/hour while it can also go as fast as 40 km/ hour. Moreover, these vehicles can also stay in operation for 14 hours.
A demonstration project is set to begin in the summer of 2016 featuring two SDV vehicles.