Arizona's first shared-ride, autonomous shuttle operating on a public street is coming to Peoria. Last night, Peoria's city council approved the funding for a 60-day autonomous vehicle pilot program with Beep, a Florida-based autonomous mobility solutions company.
"This transportation pilot is a unique experiment for our community," said Mayor Cathy Carlat. "We see this as an important step as we seek to understand some of the innovative solutions that exist around the world, and how they bring value to Peoria residents."
The fully electric, driverless shuttle is set to launch on Saturday, Feb. 22, and will operate daily from noon to 6 p.m. in the P83 Entertainment District on Arrowhead Fountain Center Drive from Huntington University to Paradise Lane. The shuttle, which has no steering wheel or pedals, will use a pre-programmed, fixed route with a combination of localization techniques, involving high-powered censors and cameras. It is open to the public without an appointment, fee or pre-screening. Additionally, the shuttle is ADA accessible and has an attendant onboard at all times to ensure riders have a pleasant and safe experience. The Beep Command Center can also communicate with the onboard shuttle attendant at any time. The shuttle holds up to 10 passengers at a time and will operate at a maximum speed of 15 mph as part of the pilot program.
"We are extremely excited about this opportunity," said Peoria Public Works Director Kevin Burke. "This is level 5 autonomous technology. It could be a game changer for Peoria transit."
The objective of this pilot program is to understand the feasibility of using autonomous vehicles for the first and last mile, meaning the beginning and end of an individual trip made primarily by public transportation. The pilot program will also capture ridership adoption behaviors and patterns in the city of Peoria. Providing more public transportation options in an innovative way is a priority for city leadership. Autonomous vehicles have already entered the market worldwide and cities must now determine how best to utilize the technology for their residents. This pilot program is an opportunity for the city of Peoria to learn what transportation solutions are the best fit for the community alongside current transportation options.
"Peoria's passion for innovation and sustainability is evident through their vision and leadership on this project," said Joe Moye, CEO of Beep. "We are very excited to be a part of this collaboration to offer a safe, green and intelligent mobility solution so Peoria's residents and visitors can have an even more exciting spring training experience."
Together, with mobility solutions provider Beep and shuttle manufacturer NAVYA, Peoria's autonomous shuttle will set the standard for new mobility technology in the region. Currently, NAVYA operates in 20 countries. Most recently, Beep partnered with NAVYA to deploy the first autonomous shuttles in Lake Nona, Florida. For more information, visit www.peoriaaz.gov/transit or www.go-beep.com.