Panasonic welcomed Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to its Denver offices, where he proclaimed December 4 as “Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Day” to reinforce initiatives like Panasonic’s connected vehicle partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) RoadX Program, as well as acknowledge EasyMile for their North American headquarters grand opening co-located within the Panasonic building.
“By launching this first-of-its-kind connected vehicle program, we are rapidly leveraging transportation technology to improve safety and mobility on our roadways,” said Gov. Hickenlooper.
Enabled by the autonomous vehicle legislation that State Representatives, Gov. Hickenlooper, and other critical stakeholders recently spearheaded, Panasonic and EasyMile, in coordination with CDOT, the City and County of Denver, and the Regional Transit District, are planning the implementation of an autonomous vehicle technology deployment next to the Panasonic building in spring 2018. The driverless shuttle program will connect RTD’s 61st and Pena Station light rail station to bus routes on Tower Road, to provide a seamless first- and last-mile solution. This implementation will be the first project of its kind in North America.
Panasonic marked the milestone yesterday in its alliance with the CDOT, by highlighting its connected vehicle operations center. Gov. Hickenlooper, civic leaders, and select corporate executives were invited to experience an exclusive demonstration of Colorado’s first connected transportation program that shares real-time data across vehicles, infrastructure, and people to improve safety and mobility on the road. Panasonic and CDOT have committed to preparing the statewide deployment of an eco-system of connected cars and autonomous vehicles. This effort, which is already underway, is expected to significantly reduce crashes and injuries, improve traffic flow, and increase capacity of the highway.
In addition to Panasonic’s connected vehicle technology demonstration, EasyMile highlighted its autonomous shuttle at the Peña Station NEXT development. Announced as part of the Dec. 4 proclamation ceremony, the EasyMile shuttle made its inaugural ride to Peña Station, offering a practical application of first- and last-mile connections with existing public transit systems. This unique coordination between EasyMile, RTD, CDOT, City and County of Denver, and Panasonic is one of the first of its kind in the U.S. The route is set to be in service in late Spring/early Summer 2018.
“We selected Denver as our North America headquarters for many reasons: the regulations are very supportive of our technology, we’ve already established partnerships with many Denver-based organizations, including Colorado DOT, RTD, the City and County of Denver, Panasonic and NREL, and there is a wealth of talent to leverage,” said Gilbert Gagnaire, CEO and founder of EasyMile.