Western Reserve Transit Authority Selects First Transit, in Partnership with Perrone Robotics and GreenPower Motor Company, for Autonomous Vehicle Pilot

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – First Transit, the leader in mobility solutions, announces that it will operate the Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA) autonomous vehicle (AV) pilot, in partnership with Perrone Robotics and GreenPower Motor Company.  

The WRTA AV pilot will consist of a zero-emission GreenPower Motor Company EV Star shuttle, which meets all ADA and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Perrone Robotics will install their proprietary TONY (TO Navigate You) autonomy kit. The 12-passenger shuttle will drive a route serving Youngstown residents, businesses, and visitors connecting Youngstown’s Transit Center, Mercy Hospital and Youngstown State University.

First Transit is providing all operations and maintenance for the WRTA AV pilot, including onboard attendants to ensure the vehicle's safe operation. This pilot is unique in that it is the first AV pilot announced in Northeast Ohio. The AV shuttle has vehicle-to-infrastructure technology (V2I) that can be used in the future to connect with traffic signals, signs, and other road items. This information exchange will help with safety and improve traffic flow.

“We are proud to bring innovative mobility solutions to the passengers of WRTA and community of Youngstown,” said First Transit’s Senior Vice President Nick Promponas. “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and the community of Youngstown will help us continue to enhance and showcase the power of AV technology.”   

“Fully autonomous operations in spacious all-electric, ADA and FMVSS compliant vans manufactured in the U.S. is a repeated request from customers in the transit space,” said Perrone Robotics CEO Paul Perrone. “Our leading-edge autonomous driver technology combined into a zero-emissions GreenPower vehicle, operated by the seasoned professional team at First Transit, will bring the future to WRTA.”

“We are excited to be working with Perrone Robotics and First Transit with our EV Star, a multi-purpose, zero-emission, purpose-built vehicle and the only Altoona tested vehicle in its class with the highest score of 92.2, to the Youngstown pilot,” said Fraser Atkinson, CEO of GreenPower Motor Company. “Through the pilot with Perrone Robotics and First Transit, GreenPower is advancing autonomous operations with a best-in-class solution."

“WRTA is excited to work with the cutting-edge technology developed by the experts and professionals at First Transit, Perrone Robotics and GreenPower Motor Company. We’re proud that our team was selected to host the first AV pilot announced in Northeast Ohio,” said Dean Harris, WRTA Executive Director. “We’re excited to play an active role in bringing AV and zero-emission vehicles to the Mahoning Valley, a.k.a, ‘Voltage Valley.’”

First Transit leads the way in AV operations, with more than 10 past pilots across North America.


About First Transit:
First Transit, Inc. has more than 60 years of experience and is the largest private-sector provider of mobility solutions in North America, moving more than 300 million passengers annually. First Transit, Inc. provides operation, management, and consulting for more than 300 locations in 41 states, four Canadian provinces, and Puerto Rico for transit authorities, state departments of transportation, municipalities, universities, and private companies. First Transit employs more than 20,000 dedicated transit professionals. For additional information, please visit FirstTransit.com. To see how First Transit is leading the way in shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) initiatives, please visit FirstAV.com.