Driverless shuttle cruises through UW-Madison campus delivering free rides

MADISON, WI - If you happened to be visiting UW-Madison Tuesday —you may have noticed a new edition on the road cruising through campus—it’s a driverless shuttle offering free rides to the public.

“I was super pumped to come here bright and early and get on the ride," Junior Quintero said. "It was everything I expected and more."

Junior Quintero is a senior student at UW-Madison studying computer science. Quintero said he's impressed with the shuttle’s technology and its sense of awareness with regards to other cars and pedestrians on the road.

“It handled all the edge cases beautifully," Quintero said. "There was even a point where a runner crossed in front of a bus and the bus stopped smoothly."

Equipped with LIDAR sensors the autonomous, driverless and electric shuttle made by the French company, Navya, can detect motion while carrying 15 people —11 sitting and four standing.

Although it’s quite a hit on campus, Tracy Drager, with the Wisconsin State Patrol, said there are still some questions about how well the shuttle will interact with emergency vehicles that need to be answered before the Navya can officially hit the road.

"There’s just a lot that we need to test," Dager said."And get information so we can make sure we’re doing this right and safely."

The free rides ended Tuesday at 3 p.m. but will continue Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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