Autonomous vehicles are being used to transport medical supplies and COVID-19 tests at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
At a time when both health care resources and health personnel are at maximum capacity, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) partnered with Beep and NAVYA to use autonomous vehicles to safely transport COVID-19 tests collected at a drive-thru testing location at Mayo Clinic.
According to Mayo Clinic, beginning at the end of March, four autonomous vehicles began operating along an initial route, in full autonomous mode without attendants or other people onboard, to transport COVID-19 tests from a drive-thru testing site to a processing laboratory on Mayo Clinic's campus. The COVID-19 test samples are placed in secure containers prior to Mayo Clinic healthcare professionals loading the samples onto the shuttle.
Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Beep, NAVYA, and Bestmile partnered to create, test, and deploy the routes for the autonomous vehicles at Mayo Clinic in Florida to address the fluid developments of the COVID-19 pandemic. The routes are isolated from pedestrians, traffic, and staff. Beep, Mayo Clinic, and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority will closely monitor the service from a mobile command center to maintain safe operation.
Beep, an autonomous shuttle fleet service provider, transported the shuttles through Eagle Express Inc., from Lake Nona, Florida, an innovation hub 150 miles away where the company is headquartered in Orlando, Florida. An additional shuttle is being used from the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's Ultimate Urban Circulator program. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority has actively tested autonomous vehicle technology since 2017 to prepare for a conversion and expansion of its Jacksonville Skyway automated people-mover in downtown Jacksonville into a network powered by autonomous vehicles.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic