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Autonomous shuttles are currently being used to transport COVID-19 tests from a Jacksonville, Florida testing site to a nearby Mayo Clinic processing location. Mayo Clinic said that this is the first time in the US. However, in the testing phase, the driver-less shuttle is being followed by an SUV driven by a human.
In a press statement Joe Moye, the CEO of autonomous vehicle operator Beep said the Jacksonville Transportation Authority is following the shuttle to make sure that “no traffic or pedestrians would potentially impact the delivery path of the COVID-19 samples and supplies.”
However, this contradicts Mayo Clinic’s press release which said that the shuttle routes are isolated from pedestrians, traffic and staff.
In a video published by Mayo Clinic, you can see workers load the cooler of tests onto the autonomous shuttle.
Mayo Clinic revealed that they “wanted to have as many precautions in place as possible.”
Unlike their American peers, China commenced a fully autonomous deliver operations in February. One of the several autonomous vehicles roaming through the country was a vehicle called Modai (“Magic Bag”), which was delivering much-needed groceries to communities in Beijing.
Also in February, JD Logistics developed autonomous delivery vehicles in Wuhan and for the first time successfully delivered medical supplies to the Wuhan Ninth Hospital.