Autonomous Shuttles Are Beginning to Close Real Transit Gaps

Small self-driving shuttles are evolving from being a piece of shiny demonstration technology to serving real transit needs and providing transportation to destinations like grocery stores and community centers.

The autonomous Linden LEAP launched in Columbus this month — LEAP is shorthand for Linden Empowers All People — serving a roughly 3-mile route through the Linden neighborhood. Two electric shuttles serve the route, with another to join the fleet in about a month, said Alyssa N. Chenault, communications project manager for Smart Columbus…

Another autonomous shuttle is set to launch this week in Peoria, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix. Known as Robo Ride, the free shuttle will run a one-mile route in the city’s entertainment district, operating from noon to 6 p.m. daily for a two-month pilot. The 10-person shuttles are manufactured by NAVYA, a French company. The project will be managed by Beep, an autonomous vehicle technology provider in Florida.