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Austin airport moves into public testing of driverless shuttle

The Texas airport will use the Easy Mile EZ10 driverless shuttle to move passengers around from one terminal to the ground transportation area and will investigate other route options.

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The driverless pilot moves into public stage. Photo: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Parking
The driverless pilot moves into public stage. Photo: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Parking

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) in Austin, Texas, is in the public testing phase of an autonomous transportation technology pilot.

 

The airport’s Easy Mile EZ10 driverless shuttle is available to transport passengers going between the Barbara Jordan Terminal and the rental car facility/ground transportation area.

 

Mobility alternative

 

Operating on the upper level of Garage 1, the electric, driverless and ADA-compliant vehicle represents another mobility alternative for transporting travellers on the airport’s campus.

 

The shuttle’s current route will take passengers from the terminal to the front of the rental car facility/ground transportation, which is also the location for the airport’s ground transportation pick-up area for taxis and ride-app services. Other route options may potentially be explored in further testing.

 

The shuttle seats six with additional room for standing passengers and has a built-in automated electric access ramp for wheelchair accessibility. While the vehicle itself operates autonomously, an AUS attendant is present to assist travellers and for safety purposes during this pilot programme.

 

Adding a green energy mobility option is one of the steps AUS is taking to meet the City of Austin’s Strategic Direction 2023 Health & Environment outcome.

 

Global EZ10 deployments

 

The announcement follows a number of other recent deployments of the EZ10 shuttle around the world, including the first to run on public roads in the German city of Berlin, operated by local transport operator BVG.

 

The EZ10 will follow a 1.2km pre-mapped route, starting from the U-Bahnof Alt-Tegel and serving four stations on a round trip circuit. The service will start by the end of August and the ride aboard the EZ10 will be free.

 

Meanwhile, after one and a half months of road-testing, the fully autonomous NUSmart EZ10 shuttle has just begun to offer a passenger service at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Kent Ridge campus. The trial is part of a year-long study aimed at gauging the commercial viability of providing safe autonomous shuttle bus services.

 

The Australian city of Adelaide has also launched a passenger service using the EasyMile shuttle between Playford Alive Township and the Munno Para railway station.

 

The new shuttle service is free and will run among regular traffic approximately every half hour on weekdays (except public holidays), with passengers collected from designated points. As part of local transport specialist Sage’s involvement, a booking system has also been developed for passengers to pre-book their rides.

 

The trial is the second phase of a joint project between the City of Playford, EasyMile, Sage Automation and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI).

 

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