Minnesota Department of Transportation

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July 12, 2021

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Automated shuttle driving Rochester city streets in preparation for pilot project

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Two low-speed, driverless shuttles, called the Med City Mover, will be part of a year-long pilot project to gather data and information on the use of automated vehicles will be on the streets in downtown Rochester soon. The vehicles will begin mapping and programming the route prior to carrying passengers, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The Med City Mover automated shuttle project is a partnership that involves MnDOT, the city of Rochester, Destination Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, First Transit and EasyMile. It’s the first driverless shuttle project to travel the streets in Minnesota.

The route programming work is expected to begin in July. The shuttles will be operated by individuals during this period and traveling at slow speeds.

“We’re thrilled about the opportunity to learn more about this technology in a safe environment, while also hearing from Minnesotans on ways they think automation and connectivity can improve their lives,” said Jay Hietpas, Assistant MnDOT Commissioner of Operations. “Minnesota is one of the few states combining technology pilots with community engagement, because we feel strongly that community members should have a say in what their future looks like. Rochester is a hub for innovation across the region so we’re excited to pilot the shuttle with strong community partnerships.”

The public will be able to ride the shuttles during the year-long effort and are expected to being public use in late August. During the project, MnDOT and its partners hope to learn more about:

  • Advancing the operation of automated vehicle technology in winter weather conditions.
  • Identifying infrastructure gaps and solutions to safely operate automated vehicles on public roadways. 
  • Engaging and educating the public by providing real world automated vehicle experience.
  • Enhancing the transportation experience for residents and increase mobility in a high demand downtown urban environment

Safety

Motorists may encounter these slower moving vehicles when traveling downtown Rochester and should take additional caution.

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