Self-driving shuttles are expected to ferry passengers in the downtown streets of Columbus, Ohio, by the end of the year.
The Ohio Department of Transportation, the city of Columbus and Ohio State University (OSU) are seeking proposals from companies to operate and maintain low-speed, self-driving shuttle service around the downtown riverfront area known as the Scioto Mile. It will be the first autonomous vehicle shuttle service in Ohio.
The timeline is to have the shuttles tested without passengers in October and November. In December, the shuttles would carry people to the key Scioto Mile destinations: Bicentennial Park, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI,) the soon-to-open National Veterans Memorial and Museum and the Smart Columbus Experience Center—a hands-on museum where people can learn about coming technological changes to transportation in Columbus and around the country.
The company that wins the business will have to prove it can provide the service safely at a good price. In all, $4 million is budgeted for the shuttle service—but that also includes two additional phases of shuttle expansion. Phase 2 is expected to operate at OSU, possibly connecting the more remote areas of campus with the main area. Phase 3's details will be determined at a later date.
Source: The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)