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  • David Giffel

Fishers Driverless Car Pilot Program

Yesterday, I decided to test the Together in Motion driverless car shuttle while on an errand to the post office. The shuttle is only a pilot program between the city, some technology companies, Toyota, and non-profits.

The pilot program will end in June 2022, so there's time if you want to test a ride. I parked at the Southpointe Village Apartments to catch the free ride. The Lexus RX 450h is very nice, but the exterior has unsightly sensors that I'm sure in the future will be built in much like the Tesla's today.

We started at a pickup point, but a pickup truck was parked where the car turned around. The vehicle could not stop, back up, and proceed. Once we started to drive again to the stop sign, it could not automatically take the right turn heading into town. The driver said this wasn't working for safety reasons. Driving on Lantern Road was similar to my 2022 Ford Explorer on cruise control, keeping the car between the lines. When we came to the stoplight on 116th Street, the care could sensor the redlight for a complete stop, and green light to go. The ride was jerky when not between tight white lines.

The dropoff point across from the Fire station was only a short walk to the Post Office and back. I waited about three minutes at the stop before it picked me up. The car is programmed to go three mph under the speed limit. One day, I think I'll like this technology. It would be great to read a book on a trip. But unfortunately, Forbes predicts this technology is over a decade away.

Yes, The Fishers Redevelopment Commission paid $250,000 to Energy Systems Network and $25,000 in rent paid to our IoT lab. I'm sure the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) invested too. The IEDC goal is to advance new technologies that hopefully create future jobs. I have no idea the total cost because Fishers does not advertise the cost of stuff like this publicly. My guess the total cost by all the entities for this pilot program is higher than you think.

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