Pasadena Company Debuts Driverless Shuttle in Florida

Published : Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 6:46 AM

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A Pasadena-based software and technology company will be supplying Tampa, Florida with its first autonomous driverless shuttle which begins serving commuters on a trial basis in January, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) announced.

“HART has received funds to operate the state’s first autonomous circulator,” the Authority said in a major update to its Transit Development Plan 2018-2027. “Funding will be available for an Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Circulator Service connection between the Marion Transit Center and Downtown Tampa. The circulator will be a 0.6-mile, low speed, controlled-access stretch along the Marion Street Transitway.”

The vehicle is one of the first of its kind in the U.S using autonomous technology. HART noted two AV circulators will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays with eight to ten-minute headways. The electric vehicles can accommodate six standing and six seated passengers, HART said.

The AV referred to in the report is the P-1 electric shuttle, an AV without a human driver, manufactured by Coast Autonomous in Pasadena. A report from Tampa Bay Online said the vehicle will be on display Tuesday and Wednesday at the Fifth Annual Florida Automated Vehicles Summit at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

Coast Autonomous said Monday HART had selected the company, along with community design firm Stantec, to provide autonomous mobility services for the Marion Street Transitway — a “game-changing” project that’s the first deployment of self-driving shuttles by a transit agency located in the U.S.

The P-1 shuttles will operate in an open environment with live and mixed traffic, solving a mobility gap by connecting the Marion Transit Center and parking to employment centers, Coast Autonomous said in a press release.

“Transportation is changing. FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) and HART are leaders in this transportation transformation that will deliver safer, cleaner, and more flexible mobility options,” said David M. Hickey, Managing Director for Coast Autonomous. “We are honored to be part of this innovative team and look forward to setting a new standard for self-driving vehicle service in this first-in-the-nation project.”

Coast Autonomous and Stantec will provide project and program management along with related infrastructure design for the AV project. It will also provide and operate the autonomous systems and fleet, which includes the AV shuttles it designed and manufactured.

The company will be unveiling its P-1 self-driving shuttle, equipped with lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors, stereo cameras, GPS, and V2X technology to transport passengers along the corridor during daytime hours.

The company said deploying the AVs could speed up further automation in transportation throughout the Tampa Bay region as part of the Downtown Tampa Autonomous Transit Project.

“Passenger safety and experience are the essential elements of any transportation initiative,” says Pierre Lefèvre, Coast Autonomous CTO. “With redundant safety applications and a ground-breaking electric drivetrain built specifically for autonomy, we’ve designed the P-1 shuttle to provide safe, passenger-friendly autonomous transportation.”

Lefèvre is the inventor of the world’s first commercially available autonomous shuttle.

In Tampa, the P-1 will run 0.6 miles along Marion Street in eastern downtown from the Marion Transit Center south to Whiting Street and back. Coast Autonomous has loaded up the P-1 with information about the area’s environment by recording a three-dimensional map of all possible Marion Street pathways, Tampa Bay Online said.

Sensors will enable the P-1 to get smarter over time, detecting and reacting to pedestrians and other vehicles in a 360-degree range.

Coast Autonomous’ complete suite of AV software includes mapping and localization, robotics and AI, fleet management, and supervision systems. Using a variety of vehicles equipped with this best-in-class software, Coast provides Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) solutions to cities, theme parks, campuses, airports and other low-speed environments.

To learn more about Coast Autonomous and its AV systems, visit


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