It’s exciting to be first and to be first with a new transportation system where the Wright Brothers flew seems extra special.
National Park Service has partnered with NCDOT to launch a test of the first self-driving vehicle to be tested at a recreational public lands site in the United States.
The Connected Autonomous Shuttle Supporting Innovation (CASSI)was introduced last Wednesday at the Wright Brothers Monument in Kill Devil Hills.
CASSI will be use to transport visitors around the Monument ground. Although it is completely autonomous and in theory does not require a driver, during at least the three month test period, a customer service operator will be on hand to monitor systems. The operator can override the autonomous system if necessary and drive the vehicle manually.
What is CASSI
CASSI is is an EZ10 autonomous vehicle built by EasyMile. Using cutting edge technology, it avoids obstacles in its path. According to EasyMile, the vehicle has already been deployed in 26 countries.
Seating is limited at 12 passengers. With COVID-19 protocols in place, seating may be more limited than that. The vehicle travels between 8 to 12 miles per hour.
Originally plans called for CASSI to be used first on the NC State Centennial Campus in Raleigh. Much of that experimental use was cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions.
With its protected environment and limited vehicular traffic, the Wright Brothers Monument would seem to be an ideal location to test CASSI. At this time, NPS has not provided routes a schedule. However, the Monument is limited in size and that may not be necessary.
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