Rochester, MN (KROC-AM) - Driverless shuttles will soon be on the streets of downtown Rochester.

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According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, two low-speed, driverless shuttles will be part of a year-long pilot project to gather data and information on the use of automated vehicles. They will be called the Med City Mover.

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Route Programming For Driverless Shuttles To Begin This Month

The vehicles will begin mapping and programming the route prior to carrying passengers, and the route programming work is expected to begin this month. The shuttles will be operated by individuals during this period and will be traveling at slow speeds.

Anticipated Route for the Med City Mover. Map from Med City Mover project site courtesy of MnDOT.

“We’re thrilled about the opportunity to learn more about this technology in a safe environment, while also hearing from Minnesotans on ways they think automation and connectivity can improve their lives,” said Jay Hietpas, Assistant MnDOT Commissioner of Operations. “Minnesota is one of the few states combining technology pilots with community engagement, because we feel strongly that community members should have a say in what their future looks like. Rochester is a hub for innovation across the region so we’re excited to pilot the shuttle with strong community partnerships.”

James Rabe (TSM)

The Med City Mover automated shuttle project is a partnership that involves MnDOT, the city of Rochester, Destination Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, First Transit, and EasyMile. It’s the first driverless shuttle project to travel the streets in Minnesota.

The Goal Of The Year-Long Project

The public will be able to ride the shuttles during the year-long project and are expected to be ready for public use by late August. During the project, MnDOT and its partners hope to learn more about:

  •  Advancing the operation of automated vehicle technology in winter weather conditions
  • Identifying infrastructure gaps and solutions to safely operate automated vehicles on public roadways
  • Engaging and educating the public by providing real-world automated vehicle experience
  • Enhancing the transportation experience for residents and increase mobility in a high demand downtown urban environment

You can learn more about the Med City Mover project on MnDOT's project website.

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