Healthcare workers load a container of COVID-19 tests onto a Beep autonomous shuttle bus in March 2020. The self-driving bus then delivered the tests without an onboard attendant to a processing laboratory on Mayo Clinic's Jacksonville, FL campus.Mayo Clinic
Beep, an Orlando, FL-based autonomous shuttle service provider, typically runs its self-driving shuttle on a daily fixed route throughout Lake Nona, FL. With operation temporarily paused due to COVID-19, the company decided to use its shuttle to support the fight against COVID-19.
In March, fully autonomous Beep shuttle buses began transporting COVID-19 tests from a drive-thru testing site to a lab facility on Mayo Clinic's Jacksonville, FL campus without an onboard attendent.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Beep, NAVYA (a French company specialized in the design and construction of autonomous and electric vehicles), and Bestmile partnered to create, test, and deploy the routes for the autonomous vehicles. The routes are isolated from pedestrians, traffic, and staff.
This week, the self-driving shuttle was used to deliver free lunch from Park Pizza & Brewing Company to healthcare workers at the Orlando VA Medical Center. To limit contact with the delivery, each pizza box was sealed, put onto a cart, loaded into the shuttle by restaurant employees, and then secured by an onboard shuttle attendant. Upon arrival, the attendant unloaded the cart from the shuttle and medical center staff rolled the cart into the hospital.
“It’s an honor to provide for those who are on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Joe Moye, CEO of Beep. “Mobilizing our team and partnerships in any way we can to support our communities is necessary in this time of need.”