Kickstarting the autonomous bus revolution in the US, the city of Houston is set to receive the first Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Buy America-compliant mid-size autonomous bus in the US.
Jointly developed by Phoenix Motorcars and EasyMile, the self-driving bus will be deployed in real-life traffic conditions and is set to revolutionize last-mile transit connectivity. Furthering its success in powering traditional medium duty shuttles and trucks with its cutting-edge electric drivetrain technology, Phoenix Motorcars will integrate EasyMile’s driverless technology to its range of zero emission vehicles.
The news comes as part of Houston Metro being selected among projects to receive funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) grant of nearly $1.5 million. It will develop an autonomous vehicle technology prototype for private or public roads at 12-15 mph in 12 months from launch date, with further operation for 12 months of testing.
The autonomous bus will serve Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, and Houston’s Third Ward community connecting to Metro buses and light rail.
“We are proud to be selected by the FTA as the OEM zero-emission vehicle provider and look forward to adding the Level 4 Autonomous EZ ZEUS into our product catalog. As the world moves toward net zero carbon goals and prioritizes clean air quality, the self-driving ZEV is the next step in Phoenix Motorcars’ quest to provide future technology today,” says Thomas Allen, Sales Manager at Phoenix Motorcars.
Phoenix Motorcars and Easy Mile will develop this Class 4 Medium-Duty Zero-Emission Shuttle Bus with Level 4 Autonomy that aims to:
- Introduce autonomy in a variety of bus depot use cases and, ultimately, deploy on public roads;
- Provide invaluable initial feedback in the development of this industry;
- Leverage prior experience in launching EasyMile’s driverless technology
- Provide integration with Phoenix Motorcars’ industry-leading and proven Class 4 zero-emission drive system.
- Support existing agency initiatives around improved safety and energy efficiency via innovative technologies; and
- As the inaugural class of AIM incubators, provide industry leadership in sharing project outcomes with the public transportation community.