Allen Best, of Mountain Town News, has a great new article regarding autonomous vehicles and Peña Station next. Below is an excerpt from the article and a link to the full article:
It’s called the first-mile, last-mile problem of mass transit, and it has vexed transportation planners forever during the automotive era. Until you make it easy to get to and from light rail and other public transit, they will remain underused.
One possible answer will be tested soon at Peña Station Next, the laboratory for autonomous and other cutting-edge technology. Peña Station is the last stop before Denver International Airport on the A-Line from downtown Denver.
There, later this year, an autonomous (self-driving) vehicle is to provide a link between the light rail line at 57th and Pena and a bus stop located four blocks away at 61st and Tower Road.
Peña Station Next is the project being driven by Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co. in conjunction with a variety of partners. With Xcel Energy it will test creation of a microgrid, capable of generating its own electricity. It is partnering with the Colorado Department of Transportation and its future-looking RoadX program and the Regional Transportation District.
For this self-driving vehicle, Panasonic has linked with Easy Mile, a French manufacturer of self-driving vehicles that recently set up shop in Denver. The vehicle shown Monday evening offers six seats and room for six people to stand.
On a round-trip ride Panasonic’s headquarters and the Pena Station light rail, a distance of maybe two blocks, an Easy Mile engineer said the car could top out at 25 mph, but more generally was geared to go only 15 mph. During the two-block ride, it moved at only about 6 mph. It is battery operated and normally can operate for a day without a recharge.