Las Vegas to begin testing autonomous shuttles this week
Jan 12 2017 by Larry Hoffman
NAVYA began testing in December 2016 at a facility in the University of MI for connected and automated vehicles, and finally unveiled the ARMA at the recently-concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017. The Arma, which can hold up to 12 passengers, will run for a week-long pilot around the city's innovation district, offering free rides along east Fremont Street. The shuttle bus known as Arma and made by the French electric carmaker Navya will traverse through Fremont Street driver-less through traffic in Las Vegas for two weeks. The Arma might only work down a specific street in Las Vegas, but it has great future potential to change how people move around a city.
The ARMA electric autonomous shuttle was initially manufactured and showcased by Navya in 2015.
The Arma self-driving shuttle. "It's a pretty good demonstration of what is possible, while also showing how slow, literally, technology like this might evolve in cities".
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Even with the sensory technology, the shuttles aren't ready to drive on city streets.
The Arma and its services will cost about $10,000 per month to operate, Navya vice president Henri Coron told the Sun. In June 2016, IBM announced that it was partnering with Local Motors to bring its Watson cognitive computing system to an autonomous shuttle bus called Olli. It's likely we'll see much more of this kind of autonomous-tech deployment well before we see self-driving consumer-owned vehicles on roads. It was tested on a 20 km track through Amsterdam. While the auto is capable of driving itself at up to 27 miles per hour, the trial period will cap the vehicles' top speed at 12 miles per hour. The same model that debuted in Las Vegas has been used on public roads in France since past year, and the shuttles have previously been tested in the U.S. at the University of Michigan's testing facility.
While there are a number of other driverless bus and vehicle tests occurring across the United States, it will take time for the technology to fully develop, experts say.