They may seem far off, but self-driving vehicles are coming to Michigan and could change public transportation. As William Edgerton reports, one new project involves Western Michigan University and the Battle Creek V-A Hospital:
Last year, former governor Rick Snyder announced an eight-million-dollar “Mobility Challenge” to give veterans, seniors, and the disabled more access to transportation. More than two million dollars will go to the design of two driverless shuttles for the Battle Creek V-A hospital. Assistant Western engineering professor Zach Asher and a team of graduate students are among those involved in the project. Asher says he hopes the project will encourage the university to get involved in other automotive projects:
“All of this can help train the next generation of automotive engineers right here in Kalamazoo.”
Asher says he hopes this is just the first of many projects involving automated vehicles at Western:
Asher says he hopes the project will lead the university to offer more classes focusing on autonomous vehicles. He says that would help Kalamazoo find a place in the evolving automotive industry:
Asher says replacing the current Battle Creek V-A shuttles with automated vehicles would cut costs and increase availability. He says the autonomous shuttle should be ready for demonstrations this fall.