CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga — COAST Autonomous is set to pilot test its autonomous or self-driving vehicles in New Clark City (NCC) in time for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
This after the company signed a Memorandum of Agreement Tuesday afternoon with Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for the provision of three electric Coast P-1 shuttles at no cost to government.
BCDA President and CEO Vivencio Dizon said the Philippines is the first country in Asia to experience these autonomous vehicles.
“BCDA and the Duterte administration are proud to pilot test these low speed autonomous vehicles this October. The vehicles, which will ferry the athletes and the riding public, can travel a 500-meter distance at most,” he said.
For his part, COAST Autonomous Chairman and CEO David Hickey stressed that they share with BCDA the same vision for the future: livable cities and connected people with clean mobility options that put pedestrians first.
“Our technology is really designed to put the pedestrian first and make the cities more walkable and breathable, to cut down the pollution and to build a sense of community. While SEA Games celebrates the athletes, NCC celebrates leadership, vision and true grit in building a city—the first smart and green city and we knew that we need to be part of it,” Hickey explained.
Under the agreement, COAST Autonomous will provide and use high-definition and 3D mapping machines to determine the route of each vehicle for it to operate on its own and transport passengers to and from the Athletes’ Village, the Athletics Stadium and the Aquatics Center.
COAST Chief Technology Officer Pierre Lefevre noted that their vehicles were developed to adapt to the appropriate speed of the environment.
“The vehicles are not dependent on GPS (global positioning system) and thus can operate in urban canyons created by tall buildings, under tree canopies and even underground or in tunnels,” Lefevre stated.
He added that COAST’s technology is highly flexible and makes cities and campuses more walkable.
Clark will serve as the main hub during this year’s SEA Games with the construction of world-class sports complex in NCC. Other hubs include Metro Manila and Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
About 10,000 athletes from 11 countries will compete in 56 sports. Those expected to send teams apart from the host include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. (PIA 3)