JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Would you get on a shuttle without a driver? You may be posed with that question in the next three years right in Downtown Jacksonville.
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Jacksonville Transportation Authority is moving forward with its plans to implement an autonomous shuttle service.
In a few years, these autonomous vehicles will be sharing the road with you in Jacksonville.
“I would argue that the ability to connect the various quadrants [in] the downtown area is one of the most important aspects of revitalizing Jacksonville,” Beep CEO Joe Moye said.
On Tuesday, it was announced the company ‘Beep’ would help turn this project into reality.
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Lead AV contractor Beep CEO Joe Moye said the vehicles are able to operate through a combination of technology.
“We map the exact route that these vehicles travel on. So they have virtual rails, if you will, that are localized and they stay within the route they’re established to operate on literally to a millimeters distance,” Moye said.
JTA officials said the 10-mile long Ultimate Urban Circulator project is broken down into three phases: the Bay Street Innovation Corridor, the Skyway Conversion, and Neighborhood Extensions.
When it’s done, you’ll be able to ride one of the vehicles around town from TIAA Bank Field to UF Health to Brooklyn.
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It is good news for Jacksonville resident Mary Lou Sutherlin who regularly takes the Skyway monorail.
“I was rather pleased with the thing,” Sutherlin said.
The project is still in its very early stages. JTA officials said the first 30% of its design is due in August this year.
In the meantime, JTA officials said you won’t see construction on the road.
“There will be a lot of things you see start happening in terms of devices we will be putting into traffic cabinets, antennas, signalization and all that. But all that work will occur over the next three years,” JTA VP of Automation and Innovation Bernard Schmidt.
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However, it’ll still be a while before you get inside one.
“What I will tell you is our obligation for the US DOT and FTA is to get a place where that revenue service commences by 2025,” Schmidt said.
JTA officials said these autonomous vehicles are designed for mixed traffic use besides the Skyway which will be converted into an elevated roadway just for the vehicles.
The operational days and hours have not been determined yet. You will be required to pay a fare to ride in the vehicle.
You can learn more about the project HERE.
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