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Orlando becomes first Florida city to launch autonomous shuttles

Autonomous shuttles up and running in Lake Nona

ORLANDO, Fla. – Autonomous shuttles are up and running in Lake Nona as the launch of the new service was celebrated Wednesday.

The driverless, fully electric Autonom Shuttle is a first of its kind for Florida and comes to an area local leaders believe is an ideal location for the technology.

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"To be a leader in that area, I think it's important for our community as we become a leader in all things future ready," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

The vehicles are part of a partnership between Beep, a Florida autonomous mobility solutions company that will bring its headquarters to Lake Nona, and Navya, a global leader when it comes to smart and shared mobility solutions.

"We're doing what we can do to not only provide new technology, but also advance environmental concerns," Beep CEO Joe Moye said.

The two vehicles run an approximately one-mile route along Tavistock Lakes Boulevard at a top speed of 15 miles per hour.

"They certainly can move faster than that, but we're trying to kind of walk before you run, if you will," Moye said.

[Driving levels: A scale of self-driving cars]

Moye said sensors are built in to stop the shuttle if an object is in its path.  An attendant is also on board during the routes that run daily from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and 6 until 10 p.m.

"Probably for the first 12 months, we'll have attendants on board that kind of provide that additional layer of comfort for our passengers," Moye said.

During the initial launch period, the cost to ride the shuttles will be covered by Lake Nona and Beep.

Officials said they will look at expanding the service in the community and similar shuttles could eventually come to downtown Orlando.

[MORE: Americans don't trust self-driving cars, survey revealsAre you ready for self-driving cars in Central Florida?]

"We would like to advance the technology so we use autonomous vehicles for the Lymmo system downtown eventually," Dyer said. "I don't see that happening in the next year or so, but we're certainly working towards that."


About the Author:

Mark Lehman

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.

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