Nebraskans are getting a chance to ride in a shuttle without a driver, as autonomous vehicles have their debut in the state.
Navya has brought an autonomous shuttle to Nebraska. The company is operating the self-driving short bus around a small track outlined on the parking lot at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Innovation Campus.
Aaron Foster with Navya spoke with Nebraska residents who has signed up for the rides on Wednesday. Foster explained a bit about the technology which moved the vehicle along a prescribed course.
Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln sponsored Legislative Bill 989 allowing autonomous vehicles to operate in the state.
“It is so exciting to have the shuttle here and to be able to allow the public to experience a driverless vehicle,” Wishart tells Nebraska Radio Network.
A ceremonial bill signing was held recently, and dignitaries got to ride in the self-driving shuttle. Now, the public gets a chance to experience riding in a shuttle without a driver.
As for the ride, Tiffany Wieser of Lincoln says it was better than she expected.
“I think I was expecting it to be scarier,” Wieser tells Nebraska Radio Network. “You just assume someone who’s not driving the vehicle that it would be scary, but it wasn’t.”
Public rides will be offered between 9am and 5pm June 28th and 29th as well as from July 9th through the 13th.
Lincoln received a $100,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to test the shuttle.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]