February 24, 2022
Perrone Robotics has announced that Pennsylvania’s first automated vehicle (AV) shuttle is coming to Philadelphia this summer. The autonomous shuttle will provide visitors and employees with transportation services within the Philadelphia Navy Yard and to SEPTA’s NRG Station, located at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue.
PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, awarded Perrone Robotics a two-phased AV shuttle and services contract. The pilot AV shuttle is funded by the Travel Options Program, a grant program of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. The program is an ongoing regional initiative that awards funds for innovative projects to provide better access to more travel options, while meeting the goals of climate action and air quality improvement, equity, reliability, freedom of choice, and affordability.
The Navy Yard AV shuttle deployment will include a backup operator on board during the pilot. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will oversee regulatory approvals, and is partnering with researchers at Drexel University to analyze shuttle performance and rider feedback to help inform future deployments. The AV shuttle in Phase 1 will augment existing transportation services between key locations in the Navy Yard, and Phase 2 will connect the Navy Yard to SEPTA’s NRG Station on the Broad Street subway line and adjacent to the Sports Complex and FDR Park. The AV shuttle is expected to launch in summer 2022, Perrone said.
For the first phase, Perrone said it will deploy the TONY-MEV (a medium electric transit vehicle) built on the Ford 350HD chassis, and fully ADA compliant. The vehicle will be integrated with Perrone’s TONY (To Navigate You) technology, which converts the shuttle to fully automated capabilities for operations in the Navy Yard. The shuttle can seat nine passengers plus a wheelchair, aside from the operator. A wheelchair ramp feature will be accessible from a standard roadside curb.
“We are thrilled to partner with DVRPC, PennDOT, Perrone Robotics, AECOM, and Drexel University to deploy Pennsylvania’s first AV shuttle at the Navy Yard,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s senior vice president, Navy Yard. “Not only will this shuttle provide the Navy Yard’s employees and visitors with additional safe and sustainable transit access around campus and connecting to the region via the subway connection, but it also showcases Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia as a leader in the latest technologies and innovation. We are excited to support this project at the Navy Yard and look forward to launching this summer.”
For more details on Perrone Robotics, visit its website here.