TECHNOLOGY

UTA and UDOT launch new driverless shuttle

Apr 11, 2019, 6:57 PM | Updated: 7:11 pm
(Photo: Paul Nelson)...
(Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE COUNTY – It’s being called the future of transportation in Utah and state officials are hoping the public gets comfortable with it, soon.  The Utah Department of Transportation and UTA unveiled their new driverless shuttle, and they hope that it’s the first of many.

The shuttle, made by EasyMile, isn’t that much bigger than a large van.  It only fits up to 12 people and it can reach a top speed of just 15 miles an hour.  So, this new vehicle won’t solve all of Utah’s traffic problems right away.  However, UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras says this is just a baby step into a much bigger world.

“In the next five years or so, we’re going to see this technology as so commonplace, we’re not going to notice it’s around,” he says.

The shuttle operates along a pre-planned route and it has sensors that can tell if a distracted pedestrian or another obstacle is in the way.  Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox volunteered to be a guinea pig to test to see if it works.

Plus, there will be an employee, or “host” in the shuttle that is trained to take over in case anything goes wrong.  Braceras has a lot of faith in these kids of vehicles, but, he admits the general public might need a little convincing.

“It’s important to know what the technology can do and also understand the limitations around the technology,” Braceras says.

This unveiling is the beginning of a year-long pilot program which will let people from all over Utah see the shuttle up close.

Cox says, “As this vehicle travels around, people will be able to come and check it out and get on board.”

Cox also says people would be surprised to learn just how many different kinds of autonomous vehicles are being tested all over the country, from personal cars to semi trucks.

“The technology is here.  It’s being refined.  It still has a way to go, but, there is no question that in the next ten years, we’re going to see major changes on the roads in Utah,” according to Cox.

The first stop will be at Station Park in Farmington, and riders can use the shuttle in May.  People can click on the project’s website to see where it will go after that.

Today’s Top Stories

Technology

The Air Force is set to unveil the newest stealth bomber aircraft on Dec. 2. Photo credit: Northrop...
Haley Britzky and Ellie Kaufman, CNN

Air Force unveils newest stealth bomber aircraft

The newest stealth bomber was unveiled on Friday in California.
4 days ago
space radio...
Elizabeth Weiler

USU making history with a radio entering the lunar orbit

LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University has successfully sent a radio, created by Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory into the orbit of earth’s moon.  The deep space radio is named Iris, after the Greek mythological goddess, daughter of Thaumas and Electra and messenger of the gods. The radio made its way into the orbit via a CubeSat […]
6 days ago
In this image provided by NASA, the Earth and its moon are seen from NASA's Orion spacecraft on Mon...
Jackie Wattles, CNN

NASA’s Orion reaches record-breaking distance from Earth

NASA confirmed that Orion had reached the midpoint of its uncrewed mission around the moon — about 270,000 miles (434,523 kilometers) from Earth.
7 days ago
Former US President Donald Trump's Twitter account has been reinstated on the platform....
Clare Duffy and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Elon Musk restores Donald Trump’s Twitter account

Former US President Donald Trump's Twitter account has been reinstated on the platform.
17 days ago
With employees with the company, the future of Twitter is in uncertain. Photo credit: Justin Sulliv...
Oliver Darcy, CNN Business

Inside Twitter as ‘mass exodus’ of staffers throws platform’s future into uncertainty

With employees leaving the company, the future of Twitter is uncertain.
18 days ago
NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen on Nov. 12 at NASA...
Jackie Wattles, CNN

Historic moon mission troubleshoots fuel leak issue hours before launch

The Artemis I mission to the moon could finally take place this week.
21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
UTA and UDOT launch new driverless shuttle