JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the first time in the United States, autonomous vehicles are being used to transport medical supplies and COVID-19 tests at Mayo Clinic in Florida, according to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.
On Monday, JTA said up to four autonomous vehicles began operating along a route in full autonomous mode without attendants or other people on board to transport COVID-19 tests from a drive-thru testing site to a processing laboratory on Mayo Clinic’s campus.
“We are leveraging our learnings from three years of testing autonomous vehicles,” JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel Ford Sr. said. “This deployment is a historic moment for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority."
The routes are isolated from pedestrians, traffic and staff. Beep, Mayo Clinic, NAVYA and the JTA will closely monitor the service from a mobile command center to maintain safe operation.
“During a time of rapid change and uncertainty, the ability to think innovatively alongside the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, NAVYA, and Beep during the pandemic has strengthened all of our teams through community collaboration,” said Mayor Clinic-Florida CEO. “Using artificial intelligence enables us to protect staff from exposure to this contagious virus by using cutting edge autonomous vehicle technology, and frees up staff time that can be dedicated to direct treatment and care for patients. We are grateful to JTA, Beep, and NAVYA for their partnership in these challenging times.”