Autonomous Vehicles and Smart Parking Part 2: Mass Transit
San Ramon has become one of the first cities in California to offer driverless buses. In the Bishop Ranch area EasyMile shuttles are moving passengers between the local rail line and different office parks, according to ABC7 News. EasyMile shuttles are allowed by the Federal Government and the DMV to operate without a driver present, though in the short term they will maintain an operator to press the emergency stop button.
This innovation is pushing forward to help mass transit solve one of its most vexing issues: the last mile problem. Buses and shuttles would need to make dozens of stops at different office blocks in the enormous Bishop Ranch area, where 30,000 people work. Autonomous vehicles like the EasyMile shuttle make this process faster and more efficient.
Of course, this process could be much more efficient with smart parking. Buses and shuttles use loading and unloading zones at train stations and corporate campus drop-offs, and there is a lot of competition for those zones during commuting rush hours. Smart parking sensors will allow shuttles to know in real time if a loading zone is being blocked or not, and may even allow a sufficiently advanced autonomous vehicle to route to a different office block where there is currently available space for passengers to disembark.
Smart parking sensors and smart vehicle sensors are both incredibly advanced, and with proper coordination and routing they can both be more than the sum of their parts.