Mayo Clinic uses self-driving shuttles to transport COVID-19 tests

The Mayo Medical Clinic in Florida was the first in the U.S. to use autonomous vehicles to transport medicine and tests for COVID-19. The clinic, in collaboration with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) and self-driving startups Beep and NAVYA, has started using self-driving shuttles to ensure the safe transportation of coronavirus tests from locations where the samples are taken to the laboratory.

On Monday, March 30, four autonomous vehicles began to work on a given route, in a fully autonomous mode without the presence of service personnel on board. Unmanned vehicles are controlled remotely.

In the process, the staff only need to bring the samples packed in a safe box, once the testing is completed. The test samples stored in secure containers are then loaded into autonomous shuttle by Mayo Clinic healthcare personnel. Then the self-driving shuttles deliver the tests to the laboratory. Routes on campus are completely isolated from pedestrians and other vehicles.

Mayo Clinic and JTA closely monitor the shuttle’s running from the command center to monitor security.

The use of autonomous vehicles for the safe transportation and handling of COVID-19 samples is another example of how Self-driving vehicles can be retuned to current needs, if necessary.

Using artificial intelligence enables us to protect staff from exposure to this contagious virus by using cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technology and frees up staff time that can be dedicated to direct treatment and care for patients. We are grateful to JTA, Beep, and NAVYA for their partnership in these challenging times,says Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida.

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