Navya, an autonomous vehicle manufacturer, is working with New York City’s Port Authority to test out driverless shuttles. The Port Authority is planning to use these vehicles as shuttles for airport passengers.
The vehicles have sensors that read the surrounding areas and follow a route that is pre-programmed into their mainframes. Each of the shuttles holds up to eight passengers.
“The vehicles are completely safe,” according to Seth Wainer, the Port Authority program director for innovation. “And I would compare them to the elevator. And maybe 100-150 years ago elevators seemed very scary until we went out and invented the elevator brake.”
Once the shuttles begin to go into use at JFK, New York City will be the first city to use this kind of technology at their airports in all of North America.
The vehicles will potentially be used to transport passengers safely within an airport environment. One of the most important features of these autonomous vehicles is “platooning.” This means multiple vehicles are able to travel in unison, therefore being able to transport an increased amount of customers at the same time.
Currently, the vehicles are being managed by a control center in Michigan and are being tested at a parking lot in JFK.
“We hope your first ride is very exciting but we imagine it to be a very daily, normal, ordinary thing for passengers,” stated Wainer.