JTA runs through training with self-driving vehicles

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Jacksonville sets its sights on becoming the first city in the country to use autonomous vehicles for public transit, the first of many training events was held Thursday.

Nathaniel Ford, chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, said for many first responders, it’s the first experience they’ve had with self-driving vehicles. 

The day-long training focused on getting people acquainted with the new vehicles and how they work.

Getting police and firefighters involved with training early on is key because the technology is still under development, Ford said, and they might have valuable feedback on the vehicles’ design.

He said that input could help make sure the final products are safe vehicles “they understand how to operate” and can shut down and evacuate in case of an emergency.

Joe Moye, who runs Beep Inc., a Florida-based autonomous vehicle firm, said the training, much like the overall deployment of these vehicles, is focused on “safety” and the rider’s experience.

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