PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. - The city of Peachtree Corners opened the doors to its new shuttle system, showing off its compact, sleek exterior Tuesday, but what's more remarkable can be only seen from the vehicle's interior.
The shuttle, nicknamed Olli, has no steering wheel, gas pedal, or driver. It's a self-driving vehicle, built by Local Motors, and is the latest project at the city's Curiosity Lab, which provides an opportunity for testing to be done in a 5G environment.
The driverless shuttle is free to the public from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It travels the entire length of Technology Parkway, so about 1.5 miles.
“The Olli does have a steward on board, the person is not actually driving,” said Alex Wright, a Peachtree Corners City council member. “But if there was some type of emergency, or technology broke down, they could take control.”
Dozens of curious locals lined up to give it a try.
For some, including the Shumacke family, it served as a beacon of hope for additional transportation options in the area.
“[My wife] was diagnosed with [multiple sclerosis] a few years ago, so we're really excited about these kind of potentials because it could expand her mobility options,” said Philip Shumacke, standing beside his kids.
The test track is similar to bike lanes, blocking off two of the four lanes on Technology Parkway for the shuttle.
“They picked a good, safe spot,” resident Dave Huffman said. “There is not a lot of car traffic through this road, it's nice and safe and people will feel very comfortable.”
But not everyone agreed.
“I think it’s ridiculous they narrowed the roads,” said Chris McGurk, who frequently stays at a nearby hotel. “There's going to be an accident.”
To ride, you are required to fill out a waiver at any of the shuttle's seven stops. The city expects to operate it through at least the end of the year.