This University Is Launching Driverless Shuttle Buses in the Fall

Jun 22, 2017

Students at the University of Michigan will be able to use the first-ever driverless shuttle bus on a campus this fall.

Two autonomous buses will be used for a two-mile route between two of the school's engineering buildings located on its North Campus, the university announced Wednesday.

The shuttles, manufactured by the French startup Navya, has no pedals or steering wheel and can carry up to 15 passengers. The trips will be free for passengers and will operate during the school's business hours.

"This first-ever automated shuttle service on campus is a critical research project that will help us understand the challenges and opportunities presented by this type of mobility service and how people interact with it," Huei Peng, director of Mcity and a professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan, said in a statement.

Navya recently announced it would open its first assembly plant outside of Europe in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the university is located. The French company also has autonomous vehicles on the roads of London and Las Vegas.

Michigan has been working to maintain its status as a leader in the automotive industry as it becomes more innovative. The University of Michigan created Mcity, a 23-acre fake city used for testing driverless cars and other innovations in the transportation industry, in 2015. The project includes partnerships from academia, government and the industry, and aims to create "a working system of connected and automated vehicles" by 2021.

And the drive to make Michigan a hub for driverless vehicles extends beyond Ann Arbor. In Dec. 2016, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law that allows the public to use self-driving cars as soon as they are available.

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