NEW ORLEANS – The future may be headed to New Orleans, in the form of a self-driving shuttle.
Monday, the shuttle made a stop in New Orleans through a partnership between RTA, Easy Mile and Transdev.
“It’s hard to believe but it’s actually safer than a human being behind the wheel,” said Dick Alexander with Trandev. “It has a 360-degree view at all times instantly, and that’s something that you and I as drivers, we look left and right, but we don’t have that peripheral vision.”
With top speeds of 25 mph and room for up to 12 passengers, the totally electric shuttle is meant for short distances.
“If you look at just moving people in downtown New Orleans whether it be along the Riverwalk, along the river, the Convention Center, connecting people down to the Quarter back and forth; this is a great vehicle that can accommodate that,” said Alexander.
Still, when some people hear driverless, that can be a little scary. Others are more accepting of the change.
“I feel safe,” explained Cecile Myer. “Other people may have other ideas.”
The AV shuttle is guided by laser radar and cameras all the around the way around. Officials said with its 360-degree view, if you step in front of it, it’ll stop.
Something that won’t stop is progress.
“It's technology that’s coming and hopefully it will help us over time to move people faster, more efficiently, and hopefully safer,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
When Bryan MacMartin stepped in for a ride it took him a second to figure just what it was.
“First of all it’s just dawning on me, I was trying to figure out who was driving it,” he said. “I didn’t even realize that we were in a driverless car.”
Officials said in the next six months they could be deploying the shuttles in North America. It’s still unclear when they’ll officially come to New Orleans.