JFK might be saying goodbye to buses and hello to the future with driverless shuttles!
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey hosted a three-day demonstration that began on Oct. 17th, testing out autonomous vehicle options for passengers traveling to and from JFK Aqueduct Parking Lot, in lieu of shuttle buses.
The two tested driverless shuttles from French autonomous mobility company, Navya, fit up to eight passengers each. The vehicles platooned “to simulate how AV technology could serve passengers in the future” which “allows for multiple autonomous vehicles to travel in unison, significantly increasing the number of passengers who can be transported in a single movement,” explained Port Authority.
“We are excited to be a part of [the test] as our expertise in AV technology includes solutions for the transportation of people and goods,” shared Navya CEO Sophie Desormière.
Though the shuttles would be autonomous, an on-board safety operator would be available 24/7, in addition to supervision from Navya’s Michigan control center.
Dozens of AV companies received a Request for Innovation from Port Authority, who were then tasked and scored on their ability “provide a safe demonstration of platooning technology within the desired timeframes of the agency.”
The platooning test at JFK was a first for North American airports. “The Port Authority has been laser-focused on cutting-edge technological advancements, and we are happy to be participating in this first-of-its-kind exploration of autonomous vehicle use in an airport application,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Our innovation group is also in touch with other transit and airport agencies around the country to establish best practices in the use of autonomous vehicles to provide 21st century transportation options in the region.”
According to Port Authority, this is only the beginning for AV technology in the NY and NJ area. A previous pilot of platooning occurred earlier this year for Port Authority’s Exclusive Bus Lane (XBL). Find out more details about Port Authority’s efforts to implement AV technology here.