ADASTEC faces multiple challenges when deploying automated buses, including managing varying weather conditions, ensuring vehicle reliability over extended project durations, and addressing infrastructure communication needs.
There are always challenges with each deployment. From ADASTEC's experience, it is essential to recognize them, assess each individually, and devise a solution to mitigate or eliminate them.
One of the main challenges of each deployment is the varying weather conditions. Depending on where an automated bus gets deployed, it is vital to assess the environment's climate, including extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow, and fog. To mitigate this challenge, ADASTEC has undergone tremendous amounts of testing in various climates around the globe. Furthermore, for this deployment, ADASTEC has collected vast amounts of data to handle the climate and weather conditions in East Lansing, Michigan. The company is very familiar not only with the area and the area's climate but also with its road conditions during all four seasons.
The second challenge ADASTEC faces with each deployment is related to the vehicle's mechanical and standard component's reliability, maintenance, and sustainability. Since the project lasts two to four years (which is longer than most other deployments), it is essential to maintain the vehicle's reliability, maintenance, and sustainability. Therefore, this project needs to work with a reliable bus OEM partner, such as Vicinity Motor Corporation, available for any vehicle maintenance issue throughout the deployment.
Another challenge that must be considered is the need for more availability of infrastructure communication. When deploying an automated bus, risks may occur due to infrastructure availability, reliability, and accuracy problems, affecting rider comfort. For this project, ADASTEC can mitigate this risk due to their experience with V2X communication on East Lansing public roads and the various research projects around V2X that are being proposed in this application.
Finally, like with all new technology, ADASTEC faces challenges with human response and awareness of automated public transportation buses. Although people may have some attention of existing autonomous vehicle operations (small vehicles/shuttles s at lower speeds), the need for more understanding of medium-sized and medium-speed autonomous buses may cause operational risks. To address this challenge, ADASTEC continues to organize awareness-raising activities in addition to project announcements, videos, demos, and informational and warning signs.