GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) - There'll soon be a new way to get around Gainesville: the autobus. There's no steering wheel, no pedals, and no driver. The small bus, that fits twelve, drives itself.
“The talent of our city staff, the intelligence of our UF researchers, the funding of the state, all come together to make this possible,” Dan Hoffman, Gainesville’s Assistant City Manager.
The three-year project will start with three autobuses on the road from the University of Florida campus to downtown Gainesville. As the years pass, they'll expand the route to other parts of the city.
“Whether or not we do this project, autonomous vehicles are on their way over the next three, five, ten years,” Hoffman said, “it's a good chance for people to understand what it really means.”
The buses have sensors all over them. If they detect something in the way, they hit the brakes. They'll all also have an attendant with a manual override.
“They can take over and drive the vehicle just like you would a normal car, albeit at a very low speed,” explained Andrew Chatham, Director of Product Development for Transdev, which coordinated the project.
Gainesville resident Cullen Fitzgerald said he’s excited for the new ride. “Getting to see it in person is very different from what I'd been hearing about it.”
The buses will start running in August.