AFS Blog

Beep — Autonomous Mobility Solutions

Beep — Autonomous Mobility Solutions

One of the highlights of my time in Orlando during the 2022 Florida Conference on Aging was meeting with Mark Reid, Co-Founder and Senior VP of Public Affairs for Beep, at their headquarters in Lake Nona Town Center. Beep is a leader in the deployment of autonomous vehicles. I know driverless vehicles sound very sci-fi, but they are here and operational throughout Florida, and the community of Lake Nona is a pioneer in this endeavor.

Lake Nona is a 17-square-mile community within the city limits of Orlando and has a population of 64,000 people. The city touts itself as "A Community of and for the Future," where aspirations and realities merge.

dogWhen I was given directions to the location of Beep's office, I was causally told that it was straight across the street from Disco, the 35-foot, 3-ton reflective Labrador Retriever! The town center features restaurants, boutique shopping, hotels, event venues, and public art. In fact, everything, including the parking garage, exuded artistry and creativity.

The excitement of the town center heightened my anticipation for my stop at Beep's headquarters. After my virtual check-in process, Mark led me down a pictorial history of Beep's evolution. The office space was very open, sleek, and modern in design. The command center where they monitor the vehicle operations reminded me of a scene from Apollo 13; let's just say it was impressive.

The Move Nona fleet is the country's largest and longest-running single-site fleet. Safety and reliability are key focal points in the planning and deployment of these vehicles. The system has five routes with eight shuttles connecting to ten key destinations. Shuttles are ADA accessible with tie-downs for wheelchairs and are equipped with seatbelts and an emergency kit. A 'Shuttle Specialist' is onboard to ensure a smooth experience. In addition, the command center is constantly monitoring each shuttle and can easily communicate with the attendant.

Beep ensures that communities are educated about the service before deployment, with special attention to training emergency responders on how to interact with the vehicle in an emergency and includes hands-on instruction on how to operate the vehicle manually if the need arises.

It was an incredible visit, and I was impressed with the entire operation. The success of this program has prompted other communities throughout Florida to participate in pilot programs focusing on how to best use this option for older adults. What an exciting time for age-friendly communities to be on the cutting edge embracing this new technology.


SHARE THIS POST

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.

County officials continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 and follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health.

Click here for the latest updates from Sarasota County Government