COVID-19: Navya autonomous shuttles come to the rescue of the Mayo Clinic
Navya autonomous vehicles (AV) are being used to transport medical supplies and COVID-19 tests at Mayo Clinic in Florida, a first in the U.S. This initiative comes at a time when American health care resources and staff are stretched thin.
For this project, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has partnered with Orlando-based Beep, an autonomous mobility solutions company, and Navya, a French AV manufacturer, to use shuttles to safely transport COVID-19 tests collected at a drive-thru testing location to a processing laboratory on Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus.
Since Monday, March 30, 2020, four Navya shuttles are operating along an initial route, in full autonomous mode without attendants or other people onboard. The COVID-19 test samples are placed in secure containers inside by Mayo Clinic staff.
AI to the rescue
“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,” says Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida.
“The opportunity to work together with these organizations in an effort to provide a dedicated COVID-19 testing solution represents our goal as a company, and that’s to create a more accessible solution in the moments that matter, whether that be crisis, shortage of manpower and resources, or other areas we can provide aid in,” says Étienne Hermite, CEO of Navya.
Mayo Clinic is a major not-for-profit, academic health systems in the U.S. with major campuses in Rochester, Minnesota; Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona; and Jacksonville, Florida.
Text: Luc Gagné
Photos: Clinique Mayo and Navya