Driverless shuttles will carry students at one campus this fall

Driverless shuttles will begin picking up students on campus at the University of Michigan (U-M) this fall to both ease traffic on campus and serve as an experiment to help researchers implement driverless vehicles on a larger scale, Martin Slagter reports for MLive.

Students have faced transportation challenges at both urban and rural areas colleges across the country.  For example, one college began subsidizing students' Uber rides because the community's closest public transportation stop was four miles away from campus. The driverless shuttles at U-M will be two 15-passenger vehicles that will transport students, faculty, and staff between the university's engineering and research buildings, a two-mile distance across U-M's north campus. The initiative is the result of research by Mcity, a project created by U-M's College of Engineering for the research and development of driverless vehicles.

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The shuttles will use invisible lasers to track physical objects around them and GPS to navigate. They will also contain interior and exterior cameras to help researchers understand passenger satisfaction and how bicyclists and pedestrians react to them.

The driverless shuttles were manufactured by NAVYA, a French startup. NAVYA has plans to make an additional 20 driverless shuttles for Southeast Michigan as an extension of its partnership with U-M (Slagter, MLive, 6/22).

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