Adapting Transport for Autonomous Food Delivery

US Ignite

In a new pilot project, autonomous technology company EasyMile is teaming up with the city of Westminster, Colorado to launch a fully autonomous shuttle for regularly scheduled delivery trips to a local food bank. The shuttle starts its rounds this week and will transport boxes of food from a local storage facility to the Growing Home food pantry. With no on-board operator, the shuttle will navigate city streets on a route stretching just under one mile.

Many organizations have adapted to the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, and if there’s a silver lining to this crisis, it may be that we’re pushing technological innovation faster to meet unprecedented need. Even as some projects experience delays, we’ve found that the existing connections US Ignite has with both communities and technology providers are also producing unexpected and positive results.

Through our work on the Fort Carson transportation testbed, we have been meeting with both AV vendors and Colorado communities surrounding the military installation. As part of those discussions, the EasyMile team approached us with an offer to provide an AV shuttle and suggested it could be used for non-contact deliveries in a nearby town instead of operating its more typical passenger runs. We connected EasyMile to local officials in Westminster, and in a whirlwind of permit discussions, the proposal secured regulatory approval in under a week.

The fast turnaround belies the difficulty of the project. Team members have had to coordinate with local schools, parking authorities, police, attorneys, federal and state governments,  and more to ensure the safety and efficacy of AV-driven food deliveries. We’re excited to have the enthusiastic support of so many stakeholders, and we appreciate all the work done by both EasyMile and the city of Westminster.

For more information on EasyMile AV shuttles, visit their website at http://www.easymile.com.

For more information on US Ignite’s continued work with the Fort Carson Transportation testbed, visit the program web page.

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