What You Need to Know: February 2021
Feb. 25, 2021—The industry is focusing its sites on electrification—how to create the most efficient battery-powered vehicle and how to repair it, but it’s possible we’re forgetting the elephant in the room—autonomous vehicles.
Right now, autonomous vehicles are picking up passengers in California, Arizona, and soon enough, in a national park. City departments, technology firms, privately held companies, and automakers are researching, investing, and hoping to develop the first fully autonomous (licensed and approved) vehicle.
What used to seem like a pipe dream, may soon reach public roads and repairers, manufacturers, and developers alike need to be prepared for the next frontier of transportation.
For this month’s roundup, ADAPT is here to bring you the latest updates in autonomous vehicle testing.
Last year, Motional was given the green light to operate level four (click here to learn the different levels) autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas. The program, also a partnership with Lyft, has now given more than 100,000 paid rides.
More recently, the team announced its plan to launch a multimarket robotaxi service across the country’s largest cities starting as early as 2023.
If you’ve read ADAPT’s other coverage, then you know this May, Beep will be the first autonomous transportation company to test its technology in Yellowstone National Park.
CEO of Beep, Joe Moye, told ADAPT, “We are working with the Yellowstone leadership team to finalize the exact route to be deployed based on the optimal ridership opportunity for visitors and campers.”
But Beep has been testing its autonomous vehicle fleet in Orlando, Fla., since 2019. Just last spring, Beep worked with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to deploy autonomous vehicles to transport COVID-19 tests.
The company has operated an autonomous shuttle in Lake Nona, Fla., which is expanding routes.
“It’s been successful, and a huge piece of that success is a partner that sees the long term vision of this,” said Matt Broffman, director of digital platforms and service design for the city of Orlando.”
Waymo has been testing vehicles with autonomous features in Arizona since 2017, but is currently testing an autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix. The service operates within a 50-mile radius and travelers can request a ride through the company’s app, Waymo One.
Waymo is also testing in California where its autonomous vehicles drove more than 628,000 miles in 2020, a significant decrease from the 1.45 million miles driven in 2019, reports The Verge.