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MnDOT Offers Free Rides on Autonomous Shuttle

Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) offered free rides on its autonomous shuttle bus in downtown Minneapolis Jan. 26-28 as part of efforts to increase public awareness of autonomous vehicle technology.

“We were able to provide a unique and exciting experience to nearly 1,300 riders over the three days of demonstrations,” said Michael ­Kronzer, ITS project manager for MnDOT. “One of our goals was to promote the benefits this technology can provide regarding safety, mobility and efficiency. Feedback was incredibly positive; we are starting to create awareness and conversations in the public setting.”

MnDOT hosted wheelchair users and members of the National Federation of the Blind-MN Chapter prior to the public demonstrations. “Having these guests experience the shuttle was one of the highlights of the week,” said Kronzer. “To hear comments about how the technology will create unprecedented mobility and freedom for disabled and impaired riders was incredibly encouraging.”
MnDOT operated its autonomous shuttle bus on a test basis last month in Minneapolis.
MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle said, “These rides will help the public see how autonomous vehicle technology works and experience what will someday be mainstream in the way we travel.”

MnDOT has been testing the vehicle at its cold weather testing facility, MnROAD, near Albertville, since November, to determine how well it operates in snow and ice conditions, at low temperatures and on roads where salt is used to clear ice.
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