First responders train on driverless shuttles coming to Lake Nona

Driverless shuttles are coming to Lake Nona, but before they hit the streets, first responders are getting hands-on training in case there is ever an emergency.

Known as Beep, the autonomous, electric shuttle will provide free services in Lake Nona when it first rolls out.

“It’s the wave of the future,” district chief Joseph McCluan of the Orlando Fire Department said.

But just like any vehicle taking to the road, first responders need to know what they’re up against.

“Everything from maybe a person trapped in the vehicle, a power issue where they can’t open the doors and get out,” Orlando Fire chief Richard Wales said. “Maybe there’s an incident where another vehicle has hit them and put them on their side.”

So Florida-based company Beep and vehicle maker Navya are training EMTs, fire rescue and local law enforcement on how to take control - specifically an Xbox control - in any of those situations.

“They’re able to take control of the vehicle,” Beep CEO Joe Moye said. “They’re able to shut it down.”

With this training, local officials said they feel confident in the safety precautions already in place even if something were to unexpectedly cross its path - like a car, toy or child.

“It won’t swerve,” McCluan said. “It will come to a complete stop.”

Same is true if it were rear ended.It can also adapt to the roadway with the use of its GPS, satellites, 3-D Lidar sensors and cameras. An attendant is also always present inside should they need to take over manually. It’s another safety feature required by law.

Traveling up to 16 mph with room for 15 passengers on board, Central Florida’s first autonomous shuttles are coming this summer.