As a lot of automakers and technology companies are testing on self driving cars, Auro Robotics is moving towards a smaller scale by testing driverless shuttle system in small and contained environments such as college or amusement parks. The company has chosen to focus on these environments as they are controlled by private corporations and thus not subjected to heavy government regulation as faced by the other companies which are developing driverless cars. Therefore the time taken to actually deploy the driverless shuttle system is expected to be faster.
One of the challenges in building the driverless shuttle system is how to make it smartly and safely navigate through heavy pedestrian traffic which is currently under testing to make it perfect. Therefore, the team came up with a three-dimensional map of the environment that the shuttles are being deployed in so that the vehicle can have a better judgement on the situation and act according to the best way it can possibly do. Therefore each shuttle will have different three-dimensional map depending on which location it is deployed to.
There are currently two models of the shuttles depending on the location that they are deployed in. One shuttle type is programmed to be able to follow a closed loop route with pre-defined stops whereas another type is programmed to be able to called on-demand to pick up users and drop them off in the location that they pre-defined beforehand.
Santa Clara University will be the first campus which the shuttles will be deployed in. It seems like in the future college students will prefer to take these shuttles to go to their classes or wherever they want to go within the campus.