Perrone Robitics, Inc. CEO Paul Perrone speaks during an unveiling for the new autonomously driven shuttle AVNU (Autonomous Vehicle for Neighborhood Use) at the Old Trail Village Town Center in Crozet on Tuesday. Perrone Robotics, a Crozet-headquartered developer of autonomous vehicle software, is running the pilot autonomous shuttle program in a partnership with JAUNT and Albemarle County.
“We’re here today to launch the first autonomous shuttle operating on public roads with the public on board in the state of Virginia,” Perrone Robotics founder and CEO Paul Perrone said at the launch on Tuesday.
Running inside the Polaris GEM neighborhood electric vehicles is MAX, Perrone’s general purpose robotics operating system, which has “given life” to TONY, the company’s vehicle independent autonomous shuttle technology platform. Perrone said the TONY platform is capable of driving a wide range of vehicles.
“It’s what we hope will be the spark for enabling driverless vehicle technology to take you wherever you want to go, whenever you want to get there now, versus waiting over 10 years for it,” he said.
The pilot autonomous shuttle program was initially announced in November with a March launch date , but due to additional safety testing and issues with establishing a public service corporation, the launch was pushed back to July.
Ultimately, the routes and schedules will be posted on a website that is scheduled to launch later this month. The shuttle will be running on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then again from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and it will be running those same times on July 20 and 21.