We give much attention to autonomous driving companies like Waymo, Cruise, Tesla, Argo AI, etc., yet often forget about little autonomous shuttle company Navya. It’s true — Navya is not tackling general AI or usable in nearly as many environments as the tech created by those other companies. Nonetheless, it gets use on various simple routes and has been an effective solution for dozens or hundreds of entities. The company’s latest contract is with New York City’s JFK International Airport.
Navya is doing a demo of a platooning system at the world-famous airport. It’s just going to be the platooning of two of Navya’s autonomous vehicles, but it’s a start, and it’s the first such demo at an airport in the United States (or perhaps any airport).
“The awarding of a trial period to Navya is the result of a request for innovation as part of a new initiative from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages all the airports situated in the two states, including JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International Airport,” Navya writes.
“It represents the first phase of what may become a larger initiative to use fleets of autonomous shuttles platooned together to better connect passengers to their destinations in an airport environment.”
The Navya shuttles use 8 lidar sensors. Onboard safety operators are also used, but they don’t technically have to be used in these autonomous vehicles. Navya’s Michigan control center can also monitor what’s going on and can step in virtually on some matters if desired.
“This demonstration is an opportunity to evaluate and test new and emerging technology to improve our customer experience,” said Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “We continue to see the importance of offering customers innovative, world-class services in response to their needs.”
“The Port Authority has been laser-focused on cutting-edge technological advancements, and we are happy to be participating in this first-of-its-kind exploration of autonomous vehicle use in an airport application,” commented Rick Cotton, executive director of the port authority. “Our innovation group is also in touch with other transit and airport agencies around the country to establish best practices in the use of autonomous vehicles to provide 21st-century transportation options in the region.”
“We are delighted to be able to conduct a trial at an airport, which at the same time represents a first step in our collaboration with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,” explained Sophie Desormière, CEO of Navya. “Navya’s shuttles are adapted to a large number of use cases, and airports represent a good case in point. Not only do our shuttles offer a solution for the transportation of people, but our Tract also offers the same for the transportation of goods. The trial will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate once again the strength of our hypervision technology.”
Images courtesy of Navya.
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