Autonomous shuttles are now being used to transport COVID-19 testing samples from select drive-thru testing sites to Mayo Clinic labs for processing.
On Monday, four autonomous vehicles began operating along an initial route, in full autonomous mode without attendants or other people onboard, to transport COVID-19 tests from a drive-thru testing site to a processing laboratory on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, according to a news release.
Beep, an autonomous shuttle fleet service provider, said the COVID-19 test samples are placed in secure containers prior to Mayo Clinic healthcare professionals loading the samples onto the shuttle.
“Using artificial intelligence enables us to protect staff from exposure to this contagious virus by using cutting edge autonomous vehicle technology, and frees up staff time that can be dedicated to direct treatment and care for patients," Mayo Clinic Florida CEO Dr. Kent Thielen said.
The routes taken by the driverless shuttles are isolated from pedestrians, traffic and staff. Beep, Mayo Clinic and the JTA will closely monitor the service from a mobile command center to maintain safe operation.