Group partners with California’s GoMentum Station


First has been investigating autonomous vehicles since late last year


FirstGroup has signed an agreement with GoMentum Station, a California-based proving ground, to carry out research into shared autonomous vehicles.

GoMentum Station in Concord, California, is a 2,000-hectare test facility where the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and its partners are accelerating the next generation of transportation technologies.

Named by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of 10 federally designated automated vehicle proving grounds, GoMentum Station is the largest secure test track of its kind.

As a former military facility, the size of the site is such that it allows a wide variety of road types and terrain to be simulated during autonomous vehicle tests.

First Transit, a US division of FirstGroup, will use the facility as a test site for innovative transport applications, including a pilot project to deploy the first commercially operated shared autonomous vehicle on public roads in the United States.

In December last year, First Transit announced the first autonomous vehicle passenger shuttle pilot in North America in partnership with French autonomous vehicle startup EasyMile. That pilot project recently launched the second phase of testing at Bishop Ranch, an office park in San Ramon, California with First Transit responsible for providing staffing, maintenance, insurance and operational support for two shuttles during the testing and deployment phases of the program.

Brad Thomas, president of First Transit, said the new partnership with GoMentum Station allows the company to identify and develop new mobility solutions for its customers using shared autonomous vehicle technology.

He continued: “We see the broad application of this technology as a great first and last mile solution plus [tackling] countless other transportation challenges.”

Randell Iwasaki, executive director of CCTA, said: “As a leader in innovative transportation solutions, we are proud to have First Transit as one of our exclusive collaboration partners at GoMentum Station.

“The partnership with First Transit expands the international reach of GoMentum Station, and will provide a unique opportunity for multi-modal testing with a firm that specialises in transit operations. This will enable us to explore how automated vehicles can complement and enhance existing mobility options.”

This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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