City of Winter Haven is testing self-driving shuttles

The P-1 shuttle is said to have no steering wheel, no pedals and no human driver.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Could autonomous vehicles be coming to the city of Winter Haven? While nothing is set in stone yet, the idea is at least being tested in “Florida’s coolest little town.”

COAST Autonomous collaborated with the city on April 2 to explore the deployment of autonomous transportation solutions in the region. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the COAST P-1 autonomous shuttle demonstrated its capabilities.

“This will be the first step in the process of exploring the deployment of an autonomous transportation service,” a press release read.

The P-1 shuttle has no steering wheel, no pedals and no human driver, according to a press release. It would also be capable of carrying 8 to 12 passengers for “last mile” trips on campuses and in city centers.

“We are very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to demonstrate our P-1 shuttle in Winter Haven,” said Pierre Lefevre, COAST’s Chief Technology Officer. “My vision has always been that cities are for people first, before cars”

“Winter Haven has a beautiful downtown area and I truly believe that’s exactly the type of town that can benefit from our vehicles and services,” he added, in part.

According to a news release, the connection between the city and COAST was made by former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker, an adviser to the company.

“Winter Haven is a wonderful place to live, work and play,” City Manager Mike Herr said in part. “As a result, we are one of the fastest growing cities in the country. I am committed to bringing smart city innovations to benefit our community.”

COAST has operated autonomous shuttles in eight countries and provided 200,000 rides to people. Its autonomous shuttles are also currently deployed at the University of Central Florida’s Orlando campus.

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