The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) has announced expanded plans to test autonomous vehicles at its airports, including the deployment of an autonomous shuttle van at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in July.

This announcement was made in conjunction with the agency’s demonstration of a three-vehicle autonomous platoon at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

A three-vehicle autonomous platoon on a closed road within a parking lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport
A three-vehicle autonomous platoon on a closed road within a parking lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport

The platooning demonstration was conducted by New Zealand-based autonomous mobility company, Ohmio on a closed road at JFK. It used three eight-passenger driverless shuttles that travelled approximately 7 feet apart at 20 miles per hour without any physical connection.

This was the second platooning pilot conducted at JFK. The first was held in October by French autonomous vehicle manufacturer Navya and involved two eight-passenger electric autonomous shuttles.

These tests were conducted in an area of a parking lot closed to the general public. With its pilot in July, the authority now plans to demonstrate how an autonomous shuttle van could also operate in mixed traffic at EWR.

It is hoped that these successful demonstrations will prove useful for airport environments to transport passengers over short connections such as to a nearby commuter rail station, an airport rental car facility, or from an AirTrain station to the furthest ends of long-term parking lots.

Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said:

The Port Authority is constantly exploring ways to prepare our facilities for the tools of the future in order to further enhance the customer experience. Following the success of last year’s platooning pilot, we are excited for this next phase and the upcoming pilot at Newark Liberty in July. Autonomous vehicles will play a key role in transportation in the coming decades, and the Port Authority will continue to be at the forefront of this emerging technology.

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