California’s massive driverless test track GoMentum Station will begin running a driverless shuttle next year in a nearby business park in an agreement with EasyMile, the French maker of the EZ10 vehicle.
The GoMentum Station in Concord, Calif., offers about 20 miles of paved roads and urban infrastructure. Honda and Mercedes are currently testing automated vehicles at the facility, and recent reports have said that Apple is seeking to test a vehicle at GoMentum. It is operated by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.
EasyMile says about 1.5 million passengers have used the driverless shuttles it operates in Finland, France, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. The EZ10 is an electric shuttle people mover that carries about a dozen passengers and typically travels on a single track.
The GoMentum deal is the first of its kind in the U.S. that uses Shared Driverless Vehicles (SDV), according to the partners. EasyMiles’ European shuttle has no steering wheel but that will have to be added to meet California rules for driverless vehicles.
EasyMile is a joint venture of two French firms – Robosoft and Ligier Group. Ligier provides the body, chassis and other hardware while Robosoft provides the robotics and self-driving technology. Robosoft has been making robotic equipment for 30 years and counts clients in the military, healthcare, cleaning services, and goods and people transportation firms.
Two of the shuttles will begin operating next summer in the Bishop Ranch, a 585-acre business park in San Ramon, Calif., according to a release from the partners. There are about 650 companies operating at the ranch including AT&T, Chevron, General Electric, and Toyota.