Autonomous shuttles are being used to move COVID-19 tests from a Jacksonville, Florida testing site to a nearby Mayo Clinic processing location, in what the medical nonprofit is calling a “first” for the US. But as is often the case with autonomous vehicle pilot programs, there’s a catch: during each run made to and from the clinic, the self-driving shuttles are being trailed by an SUV driven by a human.
The SUV can be spotted in a video released by the Mayo Clinic (seen above), after one of the Mayo Clinic workers loads the cooler of tests onto the self-driving shuttle. The SUV then follows the shuttle across the Mayo Clinic’s campus, where the batch of fresh tests is swapped for another cooler. Four of these vehicles have made the same run back and forth each day since March 30th.