The robotaxis came first.
The driverless buses then showed up. Less than a week after California officials allowed the expansion of robotaxis over traffic and safety concerns, San Francisco has begun an autonomous shuttle service.
The free shuttle will go daily around Treasure Island, the location of a former U.S. naval base, on a predetermined path called the Loop. middle of San Francisco Bay: a navy base
Seven stops are made by The Loop, which links shopping malls and community facilities with residential districts. The population of the island is 2,000.
An attendant is present in the all-electric vehicle, which lacks a driver’s seat and steering wheel but may be operated using a handheld controller if necessary.
As part of a grant-funded pilot experiment to determine how autonomous vehicles can enhance the public transportation system, the county is providing the shuttle service. Everyone feels more at ease having the attendant on board, according to Tilly Chang, executive director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.
“This is merely a test for now to see what a driverless shuttle looks like and how it operates in a low-volume, low-speed area.”
Many cities across the world, including San Francisco, are experimenting with self-driving cars to see how safe they are and how they can revolutionize public transit.
The shuttles are administered by Beep, an Orlando, Florida-based company that has implemented such trial projects in more than a dozen American cities, including Yellowstone National Park, the Miami Zoo, and the Mayo Clinic.
These shuttles are designed for short connecting routes that cover the first and last miles. They aren’t meant to replace a bus system, according to Beep project manager Shelley Caran. Because they won’t be distracted, “the autonomous vehicle will have a better reaction time than a human, and it will offer a more reliable service.”
During a test run on Wednesday, the shuttle moved gently and slowly. An obstruction in the road caused by a utility truck was manually avoided by the attendant.