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Tuesday, 07 April 2020 21:33

Autonomous Shuttles Assist in Transporting COVID-19 Tests

Written by Auto Remarketing staff
Autonomous Shuttles Assist in Transporting COVID-19 Tests Mayo Clinic


With health care resources and personnel stretched thin, Mayo Clinic in Florida is using autonomous vehicles to transport medical supplies and COVID-19 tests.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority has partnered with autonomous shuttle fleet service provider Beep and autonomous driving systems company NAVYA to use autonomous vehicles to safely transport COVID-19 tests collected at a drive-through testing location at Mayo Clinic in Florida.


JTA CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. called the deployment “a historic moment for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.”


“Along with our partners Beep, NAVYA and Mayo Clinic, we are leveraging our learnings from three years of testing autonomous vehicles through our Ultimate Urban Circulator program,” Ford said in a news release. “Our innovative team saw this as an opportunity to use technology to respond to this crisis in Northeast Florida and increase the safety of COVID-19 testing.”


In full autonomous mode without attendants or other people onboard, up to four autonomous vehicles began operating March 30 along an initial route to transport COVID-19 tests from a drive-through testing site to a processing laboratory on the Mayo Clinic campus.


The COVID-19 test samples are placed in secure containers before Mayo Clinic healthcare professionals load the samples onto the shuttle.


“During a time of rapid change and uncertainty, the ability to think innovatively alongside the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, NAVYA and Beep during the pandemic has strengthened all of our teams through community collaboration,” said Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida.


“Using artificial intelligence enables us to protect staff from exposure to this contagious virus by using cutting edge autonomous vehicle technology, and frees up staff time that can be dedicated to direct treatment and care for patients," Thielen said. "We are grateful to JTA, Beep and NAVYA for their partnership in these challenging times.”


To address the fluid developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the JTA, Beep, NAVYA and Bestmile teams partnered to create, test and deploy the routes for the autonomous vehicles at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Bestmile is a fleet orchestration and optimization software company.


The routes are isolated from pedestrians, traffic and staff.

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