Unlike the company's regular operations, no human safety drivers have been aboard the Navya-built shuttles. Beep's involvement allowed front-line medical workers to reduce their contact with the medical tests.
"Using artificial intelligence enables us to protect staff from exposure to this contagious virus … and frees up staff time that can be dedicated to direct treatment and care for patients," Mayo Clinic in Florida CEO Kent Thielen said.
One of the two shuttles involved in the project was repurposed from Beep's nearby pilot with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. The other was trucked in from the company's ongoing project in Lake Nona, a planned community in Orlando, about 150 miles away.
The Lake Nona shuttle has been the company's linchpin project since it launched operations last September. Through the first four months of the service, Beep carried roughly 10,000 riders and expanded the routes available within the community. The service was suspended when the pandemic struck.
Right now, Moye says he hopes to resume passenger-carrying service in June, but that will be done in coordination with partners and within state and local guidelines as to when to do so.
The coronavirus has disrupted the company's passenger-carrying efforts for now. But Moye does not anticipate long-term problems. By the end of this year, he expects to have 10 to 12 shuttles on the road across multiple projects in the U.S.