BILLINGS, Mont. – Park staff conducted the first tests of electric vehicles capable of operating without drivers in Yellowstone National Park.
A $ 360,000 mass experiment on the potential future of guest transportation began in the park on Wednesday, showcasing two eight-passenger cube-shaped vehicles being tested at Canyon Village. This was reported by the Billings Gazette on Wednesday.
“This type of technology can really help us achieve some of the sustainability goals we set in the park,” said Park Supintendent Cam Sholly. He stressed that cars must travel free and fast to nearby accommodations and camps for visitors to travel to the Canyon Village parking lot by August 31st.
The maker of 3D-printed media, Ollie’s name, Knoxville, nicknamed Local Motors of Tennessee and TEDDY, has been shortened to an electric driverless show in Yellowstone. Each vehicle can carry a load of 1,350 pounds (612 pounds) and has technology installed by Beep Inc. for $ 300,000, including 12 360-degree cameras and a high-voltage battery.
Similar vehicles have been deployed in Maryland, Italy and Berlin.
“Obviously, we’re not moving a lot of people,” Sholley said, but shuttles are being distributed to test the technology’s performance. Future tests could expand potential routes in the park.
The park is being tested in collaboration with the Volpe National Transport Systems Center Transportation Department. The future of vehicle use in national parks is uncertain. Partners are simply looking for additional information, including surveys of passengers.
“We’re trying to understand the technology that exists today,” said Joshua Kregger, a technology policy analyst at Volpe.
The Shuttle test is part of Yellowstone National Park’s visitor management program, which aims to understand and respond to increased visits.