University of South Florida begins its first ever autonomous vehicle trial

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Students at the University of South Florida (USF) will be sharing their Tampa campus with a new self-driving shuttle, which is part of a research program to showcase the future of urban mobility and discover attitudes toward new modes of transportation.

The driverless P-1 shuttle, which will offer USF staff and students free rides between the campus’s library and recreation center, is being led by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and is the first of its kind at the university.

The fully electric vehicle, developed by autonomous technology company COAST Autonomous, will be trialled for one week. It will operate in mixed traffic at speeds up to 25mph and is able to carry up to eight seated and four standing passengers.

The trial is helping researchers study and develop last-mile transportation, gauge people’s reactions and attitudes toward these vehicles, and showcase how driverless vehicles can interact with pedestrians, cyclists and skateboarders in a very busy campus environment.

“The future of urban mobility will be electric, shared and a mix of modes including autonomous vehicles,” said Dr Pei-Sung Lin of the Center for Urban Transportation Research.

“We believe that new modes such as self-driving shuttles will form a key part of the next generation of urban transportation. Seamless integration between existing and new modes of transportation will likely make for better urban environments.

“It is great to be able to work with COAST to showcase an autonomous shuttle working in such a busy environment and we are very excited to see how our students react to new forms of transportation.”

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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