Self-driving shuttle trials underway at JFK Airport

STATEN ISLAND, NY — One of the region’s busiest airports hopes to use self-driving shuttles to help passengers navigate its facilities quickly and easily.

On Monday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that it had begun a three-day demonstration period to test the use of autonomous electric vehicle shuttles at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“This demonstration is an opportunity to evaluate and test new and emerging technologies to enhance our customers’ experience,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “We continue to see the importance of providing customers with innovative, world-class services in response to their needs.”

The demonstration will feature two autonomous vehicle shuttles in a platoon, allowing multiple autonomous vehicles to travel together in unison, increasing passenger capacity for each trip.

If proven to be safe and efficient, the shuttles, created by French manufacturer Navya, could be used to transport passengers through airport car parks, to nearby commuter train stations or to car rental facilities. associated cars.

“The Port Authority has been focused on cutting-edge technological advancements, and we are pleased to be part of this first-of-its-kind exploration of the use of autonomous vehicles in an airport application,” said the Port Authority’s executive director. Port Authority, Rick Cotton. .

“Our innovation group is also connecting with other transit agencies and airports across the country to establish best practices in the use of autonomous vehicles to provide 21st century transportation options in the region. “, he added.

Although fully autonomous, the shuttles will be accompanied by an onboard security operator and monitored by Navya’s control center in Michigan.

The demonstration will take place in a portion of the JFK Aqueduct parking lot that will be closed to the public and represents the first such program in the United States.

“The upcoming demonstration represents the first platoon test at a US airport,” said Navya CEO Sophie Desormière. “We are delighted to be part of it, as our expertise in audio-visual technology includes solutions for the transport of people and goods. »

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