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Driverless Shuttle Debuts in Concord, Calif., Fourth of July Parade

This year, the grand marshal was not a person, but a driverless shuttle.

by Lisa P. White, East Bay Times / July 6, 2017

(TNS) -- CONCORD — Usually, the Fourth of July parade grand marshal — typically a local dignitary or business leader — rides in a souped-up vintage car.

But this year in Concord, the car was the grand marshal. Parade organizers chose one of the EasyMile autonomous shuttle buses that were tested first at GoMentum Station on the former Concord Naval Weapons Station property.

In the second phase of the pilot program, two shuttles began ferrying workers around the vast Bishop Ranch business park complex in San Ramon in the spring.

The driverless red cubes can carry 12 passengers and travel up to 12 mph. They navigate using GPS, sensors that detect obstacles and lasers on all four corners.

The 5,000-acre GoMentum Station is the nation’s largest secure testing facility, according to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority which manages the site.

Since it opened in 2014, Honda, Mercedes Benz have tested self-driving vehicles at the facility which includes about 20 miles of paved roadways, tunnels, parking lots, freeway underpasses, railroad crossings and streets laid out like a city grid.

©2017 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.