University Spotlight - Colorado School of Mines
Autonomous Vehicles Colorado (AvCo), a program designed to improve public transportation using advanced technologies, announced today the deployment of the nation’s largest fleet of low-speed, autonomous electric shuttles in multiple cities across Colorado. Service was launched August 10, 2021 at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. For at least the next year, the autonomous shuttle buses will connect Mines students, faculty, staff and the general public with key destinations in the city and around campus that currently lack convenient mobility options. The shuttles will safely navigate regular traffic using advanced sensors and technology, signaling a major step forward for the industry and the largest opportunity yet for the public to experience an autonomous public transit service.
The first phase of the program includes a fleet of nine driverless, zero-emission EZ10 shuttles to connect Colorado School of Mines’ central campus, athletics complex, student housing and downtown Golden. The low-speed shuttle service in Golden is named The Mines Rover. It is free of charge and available to the public. Each shuttle can hold six seated passengers, and each shuttle will also have an onboard customer service ambassador, a trained Mines student, who will engage with riders and take over manual control of the shuttle if necessary. The shuttle will operate along three fixed routes with designated shuttle stops and will arrive every 5-10 minutes along the routes.
“At Colorado School of Mines, our students and faculty are conducting research on the cutting edge of autonomous and intelligent systems. This partnership is a natural extension of our mission of advancing knowledge and innovations that will have a transformative impact on society,” said Paul C. Johnson, President of Colorado School of Mines. “We are excited and proud that Mines and our hometown of Golden will be the test bed for this new technology, which will lead to new developments in how it is improved and scaled up so that the environmental and human benefits can be extended well beyond Mines, Golden, and our state.”
The EZ10 shuttles are 100 percent electric, reducing the life cycle of climate-warming gases by 90 percent compared to similar, gasoline transit vehicles, which aligns with state and federal priorities to electrify the transportation sector. The shuttles safely navigate complex environments using advanced sensors, cameras and LiDAR that never get distracted, limiting the risk of human error that contributes to 94 percent of vehicle-related fatalities from the equation. The shuttles are ADA accessible and will show how people with disabilities can have enhanced mobility options from this technology.
Article excerpted from The Mines Newsroom by Emilie Rusch