LINCOLN, Neb. — As part of the City’s testing of an autonomous electric shuttle, members of the general public are invited to take a ride and share their thoughts with the project team.
The Navya Autonomous Shuttle is battery operated, and drives on it's own. It has 5 different types of sensors to guide it down roadways. "GPS, LiDar, stereo vision cameras, and odometry. To identify where it is, localize itself and then also to identify any obstacles that may appear in it's path," said Tim Schock with Navya.
He said the shuttle won't run into anything, especially not people.
"So for example if I were to step in front of the shuttle now while it was on it's route, it would slow down to a stop wait, if I didn't clear out of it's path it would honk at me to make sure I knew it was there so I could get out of the way," said Shock.
It's not just fancy on the outside, but seats 11 to 15 inside and has air conditioning and heat, along with a touch screen map to signal the shuttle where to take you.
Today city officials and the Governor were the first ones to take it for a spin. Public rides will start though on June 28th at Nebraska Innovation Campus (NIC).
The number of rides is limited, so residents are encouraged to reserve their seats online by following this process:
· Reserve a 30-minute slot at shuttle.lincoln.ne.gov. Those without online access can call 402-441-7566.
· Arrive at The Mill Coffee & Bistro, Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive, 15 minutes before your ride. Visitor parking is available in the paved lot north of Transformation Drive.
· All riders are urged to participate in surveys about their experience. Survey data will be used to form the final plan for a pilot project in 2019 during which four to six shuttles could operate in downtown Lincoln over the summer.
· All ages may ride the shuttle. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.
· The shuttle shipped to Lincoln for preliminary testing does not have a wheelchair accessible ramp.
The loaned Navya shuttle will be in Lincoln through July 13, and public rides will be offered between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. June 28 and 29, and July 9 through 13.
Lincoln is able to test the shuttle because of a $100,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Earlier this year, Lincoln was named one of 35 Champion Cities selected by Bloomberg as finalists in the 2018 Mayors Challenge. More than 320 applications were received in the nationwide competition that encourages City leaders to develop bold, inventive ideas to confront City challenges.
Lincoln has been working with Bloomberg since February to further develop the shuttle concept. The finalist cities will submit new applications in August 2018. In October, four cities will receive $1 million awards and one will receive a grand prize of $5 million to implement its idea. If Lincoln’s demo is successful and additional funding is received, four to six automated shuttles could travel a fixed route in downtown Lincoln as part of a pilot program as early as 2019. Riders would summon the shuttles using smart phones or kiosks.
The City’s partners in the project include HDR, Allo, Nelnet, the University of Nebraska, Nebraska Innovation Campus, the Downtown Lincoln Association and The Mill.
More information on Lincoln’s project is available at shuttle.lincoln.ne.gov.