Stories

Lincoln pilots autonomous shuttle service

The City of Lincoln is piloting an on-demand autonomous vehicle service to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

Transportation
Newsworthy
Lincoln will test-drive self-driving shuttle, and you can come along | State & Regional | omaha.com
Lincoln is trying to become one of the first cities in the United States to offer an on-demand autonomous shuttle service as part of its public transportation system.
Omaha.com
University to house Nebraska’s first self-driving shuttle | Nebraska Today | University of Nebraska–Lincoln
The autonomous shuttle will temporarily reside at Nebraska Innovation Campus and be available to ride in July.
News
Behind the technology guiding Lincoln's new driverless shuttle | Local | journalstar.com
The arrival of one of the Capital City’s earliest transportation innovations in 1888 transformed the cityscape from mud-splattered thoroughfares to paved brick streets humming with electric streetcars, signaling Lincoln’s entrance
JournalStar.com
Driverless shuttle rides begin this week in Lincoln | Local | journalstar.com
You might see a small bus around Lincoln for the next few weeks that’s different from the rest — white, electric and without a driver.
JournalStar.com
Lincoln pursues pilot project for driverless shuttles
City officials ask for public to take survey
KETV
Highlights
  • Lincoln was one of 35 finalists in the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor's Challenge competition and received a $100,000 grant.
  • The city used this grant to purchase a driverless shuttle and fund a pilot study.
  • The shuttle utilizes an amazing combination of technologies, allowing it to respond to dynamic situations and remain on location within 2-3 centimeters.
  • Future project development includes a fleet expansion, installation of signal radios along popular travel routes, and implementing a cell phone app that allows riders to request services on-demand.
Project Summary
Lincoln, Nebraska was selected as one of the 35 Champion Cities in Bloomberg Philanthropies 2018 Mayor's Challenge, receiving a $100,000 grant to pursue technological innovation. The city launched a project to introduce driverless, electric shuttles as a new method of public transport.
The shuttle is manufactured by Navya, a French corporation that specializes in automated transport. The vehicle itself is a marvelous combination of technologies to create a seamless drive. An antenna connects with between 20 and 30 global positioning satellites to direct its path around the city, giving it a margin of error of 2-3 centimeters. While this allows the shuttle to find its way around predetermined routes, there is always the challenge of changing street conditions and new obstructions. This is addressed by a Lidar system, which is a laser-based radar that uses eight sensors to create a 360-degree view of potential obstacles.
If something does enter the path of the shuttle, such as a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a car merging into its lane, the onboard computer tells the vehicle to begin slowing. Once the shuttle is within ten feet of the interfering object, it will come to a complete stop and honk if necessary. The vehicle’s route and status are remotely monitored by city staff. The top speed of the vehicle is 28 mph, but passenger rides will top out at 17 mph.
The city plans to eventually install dynamic short-range communication (DSRC) radios along popular routes. These devices would tell the driverless vehicles the status of a traffic light and let it know if the signal is about to change; it can also communicate the status of other signals in the area, allowing the shuttle to reroute around traffic jams or accidents automatically.
The transportation system will be publicly accessed by a cell phone app that prioritizes riders based on the timing of their request. Requests are on-demand, and passengers aren’t required to stick to a pre-planned route and pickup/drop off times. Fifteen passengers can fit in the shuttle, with seats for eleven sitting and four standing.
A successful pilot study was completed that involved partnership with the University of Nebraska’s faculty in the community and regional planning department. The city is in the running for at least one major grant and is pursuing other methods of funding to significantly expand the shuttle program and make it a mainstay on local streets.
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James Alfano

Founder and CEO

Author

In Progress
Resources
Autonomous Shuttle Project