DENVER (AP/CBS4) — An autonomous transit shuttle has begun operating near Denver International Airport. Denver’s Regional Transportation District launched the service Tuesday afternoon after a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“Technology is advancing and changing so quickly that everyone is getting up,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said at the event. “Cities all around the world are getting up on these opportunities to make ourselves better, smarter, faster.”
An RTD “ambassador” will be onboard at all times, though the vehicle will be driverless. RTD says it’s exploring driverless vehicles for so-called last mile solutions. It says the vehicle, an EZ10 developed by Toulouse, France, company EasyMile, has operated in 22 countries with no accidents.
The shuttle will maintain a small route traveling around 15 mile per hour as a top speed and carry up to 12 passengers operating weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Even George Jetson, his flying car from the 1960s cartoon series The Jetsons, it required him to be at the wheel, not anymore,” said Doug Tisdale, RTD Board Chair.
Denver’s pilot project is the latest demonstration of autonomous vehicles meant to introduce the technology to the public. The U.S. Department of Transportation says there have been more than 260 demonstrations around the world, which include Las Vegas’ downtown shuttle.
“We’re super excited to be investing in something that’s going to be creating jobs in this region for many years to come.” said Jarrett Wendt of Panasonic.
The Denver shuttle will run in a loop every 15 minutes near a commuter train station.
“Make no mistake about it,” Hancock said. “Denver wants to be a national leader in this space of smart city technology deployment.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)