Yale New Haven tests driverless hospital shuttles

A shuttle between Connecticut-based Yale New Haven Hospital's two main campuses and parking facilities could be completely driverless within just a few years, if the city's application to a state pilot program is approved, the New Haven Register reports.

Yale New Haven, the New Haven Parking Authority and the city have reportedly teamed up to propose the introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on a 1.7-mile route between the hospital's 20 York St. and St. Raphael campuses and the Air Rights Garage. The proposal will be submitted by the end of May to Connecticut's Fully Autonomous Vehicle Testing Pilot Program, which was established in 2017 to encourage the testing and implementation of AVs across the state.

If approved, the study will cost the city $40,000 to $50,000, Doug Hausladen, director of the city's Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking, and acting director of the NHPA, estimated.

The hospital shuttles would be 16-foot-long, battery-operated vehicles capable of autonomous operation, though, during the testing period, a driver will be on board. The shuttles can carry eight seated passengers and up to eight more standing riders, travel at an average speed of 15 miles per hour and are wheelchair accessible. Each vehicle will cost between $200,000 and $250,000, according to the New Haven Independent.

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