In a first-of-its-kind move for the region, new autonomous shuttles are coming to Lake Nona as early as this spring.
Lake Nona and Orange County leaders announced the historic news on Tuesday, saying that the area is an ideal locale to roll out this type of technology.
“Lake Nona continues to be a model of what a smart and connected community can accomplish,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said. “Bringing the first all-electric autonomous shuttles to Central Florida is a defining moment for the future of transportation in our region and will help position Orange County as a place to demonstrate new, innovative technology.”
The new driverless, fully electric Autonom Shuttle comes thanks in part to 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, as well as autonomous vehicle research.
Beep co-founder Kevin Reid described the Autonom Shuttle as an "innovative, green and intelligent mobility solution" for Lake Nona residents and visitors.
From how fast it will go to where it will travel, here are some things you should know about the new service:
When will the Autonom Shuttle hit the road?
An exact date hasn't been announced, but the shuttle could be in service as early as spring. Officials said they plan to announce more launch details soon.
How fast will it go?
Not very. The Autonom Shuttle travels at speeds of up to 16 mph.
Where will it travel?
You can't hail an autonomous shuttle the same way you could an Uber or a Lyft. The Autonom will travel on fixed route within the 17-square-mile community. Exact stops haven't been announced, but potential riders can expect it to stop at major hubs within the area.
Will there be a driver on board?
Although the shuttle will drive itself, there will be an operator on board.
How many people can ride at a time?
Keep in mind these shuttles are a lot smaller than your typical Lynx bus. Up to 15 people can fit at a time, although there are only 11 seats so some passengers will have to stand.
Does the Autonom Shuttle operate in other cities?
Yes, quite a few, actually. Las Vegas; Ann Arbour, Michigan; Sydney; Hong Kong and Tokyo are some of the cities where the shuttles are used in public roadways or in private institutions, such as universities, hospitals and airports. The fleet in Lake Nona will be the first of its kind for the Sunshine State.
How many shuttles are in Lake Nona's fleet?
Two for now, but it's possible that more could be added in the future.
Do the shuttles have safety features?
Navya officials say the shuttles have hand brakes, automatic brakes, an emergency stop button and an SOS intercom system. The seats also have lap belts that allow passengers to buckle in.
What other features does the shuttle have?
It has an informational touch screen inside and a communication system that will allow customers to ask questions, front and rear cameras, three LIDAR sensors that allow for vehicle positioning and obstacle detection, a glass compartment that offers a 360-degree view for riders and most importantly, it has air conditioning.
Where can I find out more about the Autonom Shuttle?
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