Orlando community’s first autonomous vehicle now in service in Lake Nona

Sept. 20, 2019
Together with Beep and shuttle manufacturer NAVYA, Lake Nona officially launches driverless shuttles within the 17-square-mile community.

Orlando, Fla., community Lake Nona launched two fully electric driverless shuttles operating daily on an inaugural fixed route connecting Lake Nona Town Center with the neighborhood village center in Laureate Park.

Lake Nona launched the region’s first autonomous shuttle with the help of Beep and NAVYA.

“Over the last several years, we have worked with our public and private partners to establish Orlando as a ‘future-ready’ city," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Tavistock shares our passion for innovation, technology and sustainability. With today’s launch of Beep’s autonomous shuttle service in Lake Nona, we celebrate their investment in our community and the expansion of safe, efficient, environmentally-friendly transportation options in central Florida.”

Lake Nona’s shuttles each hold up to 10 passengers and will operate at a maximum speed of 15 mph as part of the pilot program. The shuttles will operate daily from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. though hours may change as the shuttles become more integrated with traffic flow. Eventually, the plan is to increase the number of shuttles and expand the route network in the future.

In addition to supporting improved mobility in central Florida, Lake Nona’s new autonomous shuttle service supports the state’s ambitions to become a national leader in autonomous vehicle testing. Florida recently passed legislation to help cultivate the autonomous vehicle sector by bringing more businesses to the state for autonomous testing. Lake Nona, Beep and NAVYA join a growing list of public and private companies exploring innovative solutions to improve connectivity within this community and beyond.

“Bringing the first all-electric autonomous shuttles to central Florida is a defining moment for the future of transportation in our region and helps position Orange County as a place to demonstrate new, innovative technology,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. “Autonomous shuttles are being used worldwide. In the U.S., they can be found in Arlington, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nev. – and now we can proudly add Orlando to that list thanks to Lake Nona, Beep and NAVYA.”

Debuting central Florida’s first autonomous shuttles further demonstrates Lake Nona’s commitment to testing new technology within its living lab where companies, organizations and entrepreneurs convene to explore new trends and ideas. From a first-of-its-kind partnership with the public-school system and YMCA to a longitudinal health study for residents, and now with providing the region’s first driverless shuttles, Lake Nona continues to be a model of what a smart and connected community can accomplish.

“In Lake Nona, we dreamed of creating an infrastructure that would enable tomorrow’s innovators to thrive… tomorrow is here!” said Tavistock Group Senior Managing Director Rasesh Thakkar. “As proof, we're excited to advance, along with our two visionary mayors, the relationship with Beep and NAVYA creating the region’s first autonomous shuttle program launching the future of mobility."

Lake Nona’s autonomous shuttles are operated by Lake Nona-based Beep and manufactured by French company NAVYA, a global leader in autonomous vehicles and driving systems for the transport of passengers and goods. Beep is the exclusive dealer of NAVYA’s AUTONOMÒ SHUTTLES in Florida. Earlier this year, the two industry leaders announced an innovative development partnership for shared mobility and autonomous vehicle research. Lake Nona’s autonomous shuttle service is the first pilot deployment of the research partnership.

“We are very excited to announce the deployment of our autonomous mobility services in Lake Nona,” said Beep CEO Joe Moye. “This is a significant milestone for Beep, our partners and urban mobility altogether. We are pleased to work with Lake Nona, the city of Orlando and Orange County to deliver this cutting-edge transportation solution to the community.”

The shuttles are monitored in Beep’s headquarters and central command center located in Lake Nona Town Center. The command center’s sophisticated system uses the latest technology to monitor the movement and operation of each shuttle providing valuable data that will continually optimize vehicle performance. Beep’s mobility solution includes integration of a leading fleet orchestration platform from technology partner Bestmile that enables Beep to continually monitor for the safety and security of riders. Additionally, Bestmile optimizes all aspects of shuttle performance, including vehicle maintenance and service delivery, as well as data analytics and machine learning for continuous improvement.

“Bestmile is proud to be part of this initiative that’s truly shaping the future of transportation through intelligent autonomous mobility solutions,” said Bestmile CEO and cofounder Raphael Gindrat. “We applaud the commitment from the forward-thinking community of Lake Nona to deploy safe, modern and scalable mobility solutions.”

Each autonomous shuttle is equipped with interior and exterior cameras and uses effective guidance and detection systems while also optimizing navigation and safety features. The Beep command center can also communicate with the on-board shuttle attendant at any time. Though the shuttles are driverless, a Beep shuttle attendant will be on the shuttle at all times during operation to ensure riders have a pleasant and safe experience. In May 2019, Beep and NAVYA hosted a first-of-its-kind training for nearly 100 emergency personnel from both Orange County and city of Orlando fire rescue, EMT and police departments. The training taught the attendees how to interact with the vehicle in emergency situations and included a hands-on session on how to drive the vehicle manually if needed.

“NAVYA is excited to work with our partners at Beep and in Lake Nona to bring its AUTONOMÒ SHUTTLE, a first-and-last-mile transportation solution, to central Florida. Lake Nona is an ideal environment to showcase the ways in which driverless vehicles integrate seamlessly into our everyday lives,” said NAVYA COO Jerome Rigaud.

The autonomous shuttle service is the first transportation option within Lake Nona’s new Move Nona initiative – a bold new approach to transportation providing residents and visitors with a variety of efficient and inter-connected ways to get around the 17-square-mile community.