61AV

The 61AV project is a partnership between various stakeholders that introduces an autonomous vehicle demonstration on a public roadway in a small defined geographic area. Through this unprecedented partnership amongst the public and private sector, the 61AV project allows the stakeholders to advance an innovative, first-of-its-kind project. The project goal is to assess the reliability and availability of an AV shuttle service and its applicability to a transit application.

Exterior view of 61AV vehicle

Project objectives:

  • Introduce AV technology safely on a public roadway in the Denver metro area
  • Provide additional connectivity between station and businesses and residential areas
  • Explore first/last mile solutions for future growth throughout the District
  • Test AV technology in a transit setting.

Specifications

  • 12 passenger capacity
  • 100% Electric Vehicle
  • Automatic wheelchair ramp
  • Passenger information system
  • Customer ambassador onboard through duration of project
  • No fares will be charged during project period

Frequently Asked Questions

Overall Project

The 61AV project is a partnership between multiple stakeholders that will introduce an autonomous vehicle on a public roadway through a pilot program as a possible first-last mile solution for transit riders. The EasyMile 100% electric shuttle will connect passengers from the 61st and Peña commuter rail station to the Panasonic and EasyMile offices and to the 61st and Peña Park-n-Ride lot via four stops.
  • RTD in partnership with Transdev (Operator of the service)
  • EasyMile (the provider of the Autonomous Vehicle)
  • Colorado’s Autonomous Mobility Task Force (Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol, and Colorado Department of Revenue/DMV)
  • City and County of Denver (Public Works and Denver International Airport)
  • Panasonic and Fulenwider (the developers of Peña Station NEXT).
Through this partnership, the stakeholders will be able to demonstrate the autonomous vehicle technology and assess the benefits it could provide in meeting future mobility needs of the metro region. The 61AV project is an unprecedented partnership amongst the public and private sector allowing the stakeholders to advance an innovative, first-of-its-kind project. The project goal is to assess the reliability and availability of an AV shuttle service and its applicability to a transit application.
  • Safely introduce AV technology on a public roadway in the Denver metro area.
  • Provide additional connectivity between transit station and businesses and residential areas.
  • Explore first/last mile solutions for future growth throughout the District.
  • Test an autonomous vehicle technology in a transit setting.

Vehicle and Technology

Autonomous vehicles are self-driven or driverless vehicles that move with little or no human input. Using advanced technology, autonomous vehicles can interpret information to sense and identify predetermined navigation paths, obstacles, and signage. The vehicle being used for the 61AV project is the EZ10, a driverless shuttle developed by EasyMile.

The vehicle is constantly collecting, storing, and analyzing data from lasers, cameras, GPS, IMU, and odometry to operate safely in a predetermined environment. The technology is using these systems to provide the following functionality:

  • Localization: knowing where the vehicle is;
  • Navigation: knowing where the vehicle is going; and
  • Obstacle Detection: knowing what is happening around the vehicle.

The software has been designed to know the vehicle’s exact position with millimeter-level precision, at all times.

  • 100% Electric Vehicle
  • Automatic wheelchair ramp
  • Air conditioning
  • Passenger information system
  • Onboard USB chargers

Safety

The autonomous vehicle is equipped with multiple layers of redundancy in order to maximize the safety of the passengers, other road users, and the vehicle itself, including:

  • Redundant coverage by sensors
  • Independent Obstacle detection function
  • Fail-safe and redundant braking system
  • Redundant industry-grade emergency buttons
These vehicles have been operated in over 22 countries for over 200,000 miles and serving over 320,000 passengers – all with no accidents
The autonomous vehicle is equipped with microphones and cameras that enable two-way communications between passengers and RTD. However, a live customer service and safety ambassador will be on board at all times throughout the duration of the project to monitor rider safety, comfort, and satisfaction.

Service

Transdev will operate the service for the RTD in a new route called the 61AV. The route is integrated into RTD’s other transit routes, the RTD Trip Planner and RTD Next Ride programs and applications.
The Route 61AV will operate as a specific route with a fixed schedule and will stop at every designated stop every 15 minutes, even if nobody is requesting it. The EZ10 vehicle can operate as an on-demand service but will not be utilized in that capacity for this pilot project.
Route 61AV will operate on a defined route and will make stops at four designated stops along the route. See route map and schedule here.
Service will run Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. See Route 61AV schedule here.
The vehicle travels at 12-15 mph and will make a complete loop every 15 minutes. See Route 61AV schedule here.
During the demonstration period, there will be no fares collected on the 61AV route. There are currently no plans to run the route past the demonstration period; however, the technology can be integrated with fare payment systems.
The autonomous vehicle has an automatically deploying access ramp that enables passengers with reduced mobility to board and disembark the vehicle. A fully accessible vehicle will be available throughout the duration of the project to accommodate passengers with disabilities.
The vehicle can carry up to 12 people (six seated, and six standing)
While many public roadway operations may require a human being on-board the vehicle, the EZ10 has been designed to not require an operator. It does not include the traditional steering wheel or manual brakes and, instead, relies upon technology to operate. This demonstration will have a customer service and safety ambassador provided by RTD’s contractor Transdev, onboard to answer questions and provide information.

Partners