Later this month, Beep’s autonomous shared-ride shuttle will begin operating on a public street in Peoria, Arizona, making it the first to do so in the state.
Peoria’s city council recently approved funding for the pilot program, which will begin on February 22, according to a news release. The shuttle will operate from noon to 6 p.m. in the city’s entertainment district.
“This transportation pilot is a unique experiment for our community,” Mayor Cathy Carlat said, according to the release. “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 shuttle has no steering wheel or pedals and will rely on a pre-programmed, fixed route to travel. It will use a combination of localization techniques that involve high-powered sensors and cameras. The ADA accessible shuttle also will have an attendant onboard at all times. The attendant will ensure a safe, pleasant experience for riders and will be able to communicate with the Beep Command Center if needed.
The shuttle, which can hold up to 10 passengers, won’t go over 15 mph during the pilot program. Rides will be free and open to the public.
The goal of the project is to understand the feasibility of using such vehicles for first and last mile transportation. Ridership adoption behaviors and patterns also will be studied.
“We are extremely excited about this opportunity,” Peoria Public Works Director Kevin Burke said, according to the release. “This is level 5 autonomous technology. It could be a game changer for Peoria transit.”