Smart City Las Vegas’ Driverless Shuttle Delivers Passengers and Data

Las Vegas is among the recipients of the 2018 Smart Cities Readiness Challenge grant. This year’s grant recipients were selected form a list of nine finalists, which included the likes of Albuquerque, N.M.; Aurora, Ill.; Fairfax County, Va.; and Los Angeles. Puerto Rico, which is recovering from devastation left by Hurricane Maria, will be awarded a separate Readiness Challenge Grant.

Thanks to innovative onboard technology, residents and tourists ride through eight city intersections, six traffic lights, and two stop signs in downtown Las Vegas without a driver. Transportation services provider Keolis operates the shuttle, which relies on a mix of cameras, GPS and sensors on board the vehicle and installed on traffic signals. Autonomous vehicle manufacturer Navya designed the self-driving shuttle used in the pilot program.

The year-long pilot initiative, sponsored by AAA and at no expense to the city, started Nov. 2017. Passengers can catch the shuttle from 11 am – 6 pm. You don’t have to be an AAA member to ride the shuttle. The pilot program aims to give a quarter-million free rides to Las Vegas residents and visitors. Partners in the project include AAA, Keolis North America the city of Las Vegas, and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

Las Vegas autonomous shuttle pilot program

Las Vegas autonomous shuttle pilot program event this past November. Photo Courtesy: City of Las Vegas, Nev.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says the pilot program enables more testing of the driverless technology. “Las Vegas is a global leader in innovation and sustainability. The shuttle is a great fit in fabulous downtown Las Vegas within our Innovation District, where we are forerunners in testing new technologies.” After the 12-month program ends, plans are in place to keep the shuttle running downtown, and a fee may be introduced.

Smart Cities award goes to Vegas

The Smart Cities Council has chosen Las Vegas, Nev., as one of the winners of the 2018 Smart Cities Readiness Challenge. Four cities and the state of Virginia won the award and grant.

Las Vegas wants to become a fully connected smart city by 2025, and will use the grant resources to reach that destination. Today, the city is working on an open and adaptable public safety platform to pull in data from many sources for collective analysis. It currently has three pilot projects under way involving video analytics in activities including traffic and pedestrian safety. Las Vegas is also exploring the benefits of installing a citywide fiber network.

The city’s Information Technologies Director Michael Sherwood said the award highlights the leadership and staff within Las Vegas and its commitment to technology and the future. “We are building community to make life better for all, residents and tourists alike; programs like this go towards that effort,” Sherwood said.

las vegas shuttle

Photo Courtesy: City of Las Vegas, Nev.

The city has an Innovation District where staffers actively test smart technologies and solutions, including Internet of Things innovations. Those technologies, says Sherwood, “will make our streets safer, reduce congestion, increase efficiency and provide a cleaner environment for all to enjoy.” Go to for more information on the district.

Sherwood said the Smart Cities Readiness Challenge grant will help the city focus its attention on public safety issues as well as social issues like homelessness. The grant, Sherwood said, “will bring cutting edge technology companies like Qualcomm and business experts in efficiency and process automation to the city to assist us in establishing new technology programs aimed at the issues outlined above.” Sherwood said more announcements about the grant would be forthcoming.

The Smart Cities Council grants include a year of expert mentoring along with a workshop tailored to support specific community needs. The recipients also will receive free products and services from companies and organizations such as Qualcomm, Battelle, SYNEXXUS and CompTIA.

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