Orlando, Florida, debuts self-driving shuttle that will whisk passengers around downtown

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The new self driving SWAN (Shuttling with Autonomous Navigation) shuttle bus is displayed Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. The SWAN shuttle seats up to eight passengers and will run along a one-mile route in downtown Orlando. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla. – There is going to be a new way to get around downtown Orlando, Florida, and it's not going to require any human drivers.

Starting later this month, an electric, self-driving shuttle will whisk passengers around a 1-mile (1.6 km) loop in the downtown area for no charge, Orlando officials said Wednesday.

The eight-passenger shuttle service is part of a six-month trial for the central Florida city. Transportation planners hope to use data gathered from the pilot program to guide the city's future transportation strategy.

“With the expansion of autonomous vehicle shuttles into our neighborhoods, we can converge cutting-edge technology with new mobility solutions to further redefine the way our community moves," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

The autonomous shuttle service is operated by Beep Inc., an Orlando-based company that already operates a similar service in a planned community near Orlando International Airport.