The City of Racine as part of Smart Racine efforts is pioneering the introduction and integration of an automated vehicle (AV) shuttle into public transportation systems in Wisconsin. The Racine AV shuttle heralds the future of transportation: automated, connected, electrified and shared. As such Racine AV provides a unique opportunity for the citizens and businesses of Racine and Wisconsin to personally experience the AV and its impacts.
Access to jobs, grocery stores, healthcare, education, and cultural, recreational, and other opportunities varies among communities in urban regions, leaving certain communities underserved. While the underlying causes of inequitable community growth are complex and multi-faceted, limited transit options compound the issue and contribute to a vicious cycle of social inequity, having implications for health, wealth, education, and safety of these communities. The Racine AV shuttle service is being designed to deploy and demonstrate how emerging automated transportation solutions can be harnessed effectively and symbiotically within existing public transportation systems to address the glaring disparities in our society.
The initial deployment of the shuttle is anticipated to be a fixed-route service in downtown Racine. After building community trust, the AV shuttle could be potentially used for an on-demand service in the off-peak hours. Racine Transit operators will operate the AV shuttle after being trained in its operation.
The City’s partnership with the Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enables this AV shuttle deployment. The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory (TOPS Lab) will work alongside professionals in Racine’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors to develop and refine the technical elements of the AV shuttle deployment. The TOPS Lab researchers will monitor and evaluate the safety and operation of the AV shuttle. The Gateway Technical College will house the shuttle and incorporate it into education and training opportunities to prepare the workforce for future employment opportunities.
The AV shuttle is powered by TONY® (short for “TO Navigate You”) developed by Perrone Robotics. Perrone Robotics Inc, is a leading provider of fully autonomous vehicle technology and turn-key vehicle solutions for the mobility of people and things. TONY embeds inside of any vehicle for any job, to provide a complete “artificial driver” solution that brings full autonomy in a safety certifiable framework.