Nashville Councilman Shows Off Driverless Vans He Says Can Fill Transit Gaps | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Councilman Shows Off Driverless Vans He Says Can Fill Transit Gaps

Jun 6, 2018

Metro Council Member Robert Swope showed off an electric, driverless shuttle this week as part of his proposal to tackle transit problems in Nashville.

The plan calls for a fleet of these short-range buses to solve traffic congestion and drop riders off closer to their destinations.

Swope says this is a small step towards fixing Nashville's transit issues, but the technology for self-driving buses is ready today.

"We're not going to wave a magic wand and the traffic's going to be fixed," Swope said. "This is one part of a much larger ecosystem that needs to be created and implemented."

The driverless shuttles are made by a French manufacturer named NAVYA, and one shuttle was shown in action at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

It looks like a VW bus, but without a diver's seat or even a steering wheel. An attendee even tried to block the shuttle's path to see what would happen, but the bus came to a stop and honked at the pedestrian.

Similar low-speed shuttles are already operating in Las Vegas and the University of Michigan.

Swope says his plan would not need a referendum because existing funds could be repurposed to invest in the autonomous shuttles.