Fort Carson, Colo., near Colorado Springs, is a new smart transportation test site for a new US Ignite autonomous vehicle (AV) pilot program that will focus on reducing transportation costs, improving public safety and deliver faster services, according to a press release.
US Ignite, a non‐profit dedicated to accelerating smart city initiatives, is coordinating the program with Fort Carson, the local community, and the University of Colorado Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV).  The $4 million program is funded by the Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and is designed to be a model for future smart military installations, according to the release.
“The future of smart military installations, and of transportation technologies, is dependent on implementing high-quality, data-driven, and repeatable pilot programs that enable researchers to investigate challenges securely and at scale,” said Nick Maynard, US Ignite chief strategy officer. “We envision the Fort Carson project as the start of a wave of new research testbeds at military posts that will help revolutionize transportation for decades to come.”
Phase one of the program will deploy of up to two on-base automated shuttles, and as the program develops the research team will also explore on and off-post automated delivery vehicles and shuttles, the release said.
The program will also share data between Fort Carson and Colorado Springs with shuttle smart sensors monitoring traffic, parking, and public safety, and will also link to city sensor information and mapping systems to create joint data repositories, according to the release.
The Pentagon’s $1 billion transportation budget includes $435 million annually for non-tactical passenger vehicles and light trucks with a 7% use rate, putting DOD in a unique position to leverage new technologies, the release said.
“Colorado Springs is excited to be partnering with US Ignite, Fort Carson and others on this autonomous vehicle pilot project since it aligns well with our smart communities program, SmartCOS,” said Bret Waters, Colorado Springs deputy chief of staff. “Collectively, we will better understand the use cases and business models of AVs as it relates to a military installation and urban environments,” he added.