The self-driving bus is being used to test the new corona virus, moving it from a test site in Jacksonville, Florida, to the Mayo Clinic, a nearby medical nonprofit,media reported. According to the Mayo Clinic, the test is the first in the United States. But as is often the case with pilot projects for self-driving cars, there is a conundrum: In every run to and from the clinic, the self-driving shuttle will be followed by a manned SUV, as can be seen in a video released by the Mayo Clinic.
Joe Moye, CEO of self-driving car operator Beep, said in a statement to The Verge that the Jacksonville Transit Authority is providing tracking vehicles to ensure that no other vehicles or pedestrians may affect the delivery route of samples and supplies of the new coronavirus. Although the Mayo Clinic press release said the bus operated in isolation from pedestrians, public transport and staff.
Moye said the self-driving shuttle could help many of the Mayo clinic’s staff work as freely as possible during the ongoing outbreak of new coronapneumonia, or they will have to deliver samples themselves. At the same time, the Mayo Clinic wants to take as many precautions as possible.
But in this delivery test, humans were not completely out of the cycle as they seemed. In addition to Shadow Car, Beep, and Mayo Clinic, Beep’s agent JTA closely monitors the shuttle’s operation at the Mobile Control Center.