The Mayo Clinic’s Florida location has become the first place in America to use autonomous vehicles to transport medical supplies and COVID-19 tests. The clinic along with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) has partnered with autonomous vehicle companies Beep and NAVYA to facilitate the safe transport of the tests collected at a drive-thru testing location.
The test samples are stored in secure containers and then loaded onto shuttles by Mayo Clinic staff. The shuttles then take them from the testing area to the lab. The routes on the hospital campus are completely isolated from pedestrians and other traffic. The self-driving shuttles are monitored remotely from a command center.
“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. We are grateful to JTA, Beep, and NAVYA for their partnership in these challenging times,” said Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO, Mayo Clinic in Florida.
Autonomous Shuttles from Innovation Hub in Lake Nona
Beep transported the shuttles from their Lake Nona, Florida innovation hub. An additional shuttle is being used from the JTA’s Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) program. Jacksonville has been testing self-driving tech since 2017 to prepare for the conversion and expansion of its Skyway automated people mover in Downtown Jacksonville into a network powered by autonomous vehicles.
“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. 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,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.
Source: Press Release
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