In another example of how autonomous vehicles are being deployed in the U.S., COAST Autonomous this week announced an agreement with Saint Leo University to deploy an autonomous vehicle system for campus transportation.
The groups will work to develop a plan that augments existing campus transportation at the university’s main campus, located about 30 miles north of Tampa, Fla. The deployment will include identifying routes and running simulations to determine the optimum fleet size and vehicle types (either COAST P-1 Shuttles and/or self-driving golf carts) in order to provide an efficient and useful service, the companies said in a statement. In addition to providing campus transportation, COAST said it will look at offering on-campus deliveries and other innovative services.
“Our strategic plan called ‘Renaissance 2021’ charges us to grow the university, strengthen its culture, and transform the educational experience to better serve the needs of students, said Jeffrey D. Senese, Saint Leo University Presidient. “Introducing innovative technologies, such as those offered by COAST, fits with this vision perfectly. The COAST vehicles will enhance the campus community with greater safety, accessibility, and convenience. We are eager to work with the COAST team to prepare a detailed plan and launch Saint Leo’s autonomous transportation system as soon as possible.”
Self-driving vehicle deployments
Pasadena, Calif.-based COAST Autonomous develops a full stack of autonomous vehicle software that includes mapping and localization, robotics and AI, fleet management and supervision systems. The company partners with manufacturers to provide several vehicles equipped with its software to provide mobility-as-a-service solutions to cities, theme parks, campuses, airports, and other private sites. Last year, the company announced it would deploy self-driving vehicles at the Kinney County (Texas) Railport to support staff transportation, supplies and equipment deliveries, perimeter security, and lawn mowing. Other projects included self-driving shuttles at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, and a trial at the University of South Florida.
Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs to more than 19,500 students a year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the private, non-profit university also offers 32 education centers in seven states, and an online program.
“Dr. Senese and his team at Saint Leo are true visionaries,” said David M. Hickey, the chairman and CEO at COAST Autonomous. “The university is a beautiful campus with amazing plans for growth. We are delighted to provide a fleet of self-driving vehicles that can complement and augment the existing transportation service. Students’ schedules tend not to match traditional bus timetables, but our vehicles won’t mind transporting them at all times of the day or night.”