LAVTA Celebrates Launch of Autonomous Vehicle Testing

July 9, 2018
The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority celebrated the launch of testing of its new Shared Autonomous Vehicle (SAV) on June 22.

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority celebrated the launch of testing of its new Shared Autonomous Vehicle (SAV) on June 22 at an event held at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station. Approximately 70 area business leaders, elected officials and project sponsors attended the event.

Vehicle testing will take place on public roads in the city of Dublin, California. Dublin Mayor and LAVTA Board member David Haubert welcomed those in attendance, saying “I’m very proud that the innovative City of Dublin has been chosen to develop the leading edge of autonomous vehicle travel. Working together with LAVTA, EasyMile staff and our other project partners, our city traffic engineers will be among the first in the country to link a rail station to last mile destinations by navigating complex stoplight and turning scenarios along public roads.”

Funding for the project was obtained through a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Alameda County Supervisor and LAVTA Vice Chair Scott Haggerty, who secured the grant, noted that “providing a convenient and reliable first and last mile zero emission service will have a substantial environmental impact by reducing single occupancy vehicle trips to employment, retail and residential destinations located near the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station.”

LAVTA’s SAV project also received legislative support through the efforts of California State Assemblymember Catharine Baker. Baker sponsored Assembly Bill 1444, which gave LAVTA the authority to operate the autonomous vehicle on public roads during testing. Regarding the project, Baker said “This shuttle is not only going to make our area an innovation hub, but also make our lives easier by making great connections for folks in the East Bay.”

LAVTA’s partners on the SAV project include GoMentum Station, which will oversee the entire testing process and First Transit, which will provide staffing, maintenance and operation support for the project. Speaking to the testing process, Pleasanton Councilmember and LAVTA Chair Karla Brown told attendees “Before we will begin carrying passengers, the technology on our vehicle will need to be proven by passing more than 100 different testing scenarios. That process is expected to take two to three years.”

LAVTA’s SAV is a second generation EasyMile EZ10, which can operate in fixed route or on-demand mode. The vehicle weighs 3,500 pounds and has space for 12 passengers. Although capable of higher speeds, during testing the vehicle will operate at 15 miles per hour or less. An operator from First Transit will be onboard the vehicle at all times during the testing phase.