A planned pilot program at Yellowstone National Park in the USA is set to test multi-passenger, electric automated vehicle platforms to provide visitors a safe, innovative and eco-friendly transportation alternative while exploring Yellowstone.
Florida-based autonomous Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) provider, Beep, announced this week that they will deploy the first autonomous shuttles with the National Parks Service (NPS) in May 2021.
Beep will work in concert with both NPS Park Planning, Facilities and Lands Directorate, the Department of Transportation and Yellowstone National Park to safely plan, deploy and operate two autonomous shuttles in the Canyon Village.
Exact shuttle stops, route locations and distance will be determined jointly between Beep and the NPS. According to a press release by Yellowstone National Park, the initiative is part of the Yellowstone Visitor Use Management Program, which is focused on testing a range of pilot projects around the park to enhance the visitor experience.
“It’s an honour to be the first in the country to provide autonomous shuttles to the NPS and its visitors. Yellowstone’s Visitor Use Management Program aligns with Beep’s mission to provide alternative, sustainable, and innovative transportation solutions meant to transform and improve mobility for all. This demonstration will help assess how emerging technologies can enhance the visitor experience while making the roads safer and less congested for everyone,” said Joe Moye, Beep CEO.
During the deployment, Beep will provide a full suite of services for the pilot including the autonomous vehicles, engineering, and mapping of the routes, complete operational, monitoring and management for regular oversight and to support ridership demand. By utilising 100% electric autonomous shuttles that will have zero emissions, the deployment aligns with the park’s priority to improve visitor safety, access, and experience. The pilot will be supported and monitored by an onboard shuttle specialist, on the ground staff and Beep’s Global Command Center to ensure safe and reliable operation.
Beep has a faultless safety record with the largest and longest running single site AV shuttle fleet in the United States, located in Lake Nona, Florida, a 17 square-mile planned development in Orlando.
Since launching in September 2019, Beep safely transported over 16,000 passengers in its first year of operation on its initial route eliminating the equivalent of nearly 9,400 vehicle trips with carbon emissions that would have required 170 trees to reverse. With over seven new routes and programs now in production, the safety and environmental impact is compounding. Beep, and their safety-first approach to successfully test this new technology, is also the first AV service provider currently participating in NHTSA’s AV TEST Initiative public portal launched in September 2020 by USDOT.
Passengers can expect processes and procedures onboard that align with best practices for ride-sharing and transit such as frequent cleaning procedures, modified seating capacity, onboard hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes.
(Photo top of page – copyright 2020 Actroterion)