Disney World Resort in Florida is said to be planning to launch the highest-profile commercial driverless vehicle deployment ever, testing a fleet of driverless shuttles that could move passengers through car parks and around its theme parks.
The Los Angeles Times reports that sources with direct knowledge of Disney’s plans say that the company is in “late-stage negotiation” with at least two manufacturers of autonomous shuttles – Local Motors, based in Phoenix, and Navya, based in Paris (pictured). It says it is unclear whether contracts would go to both or just one of the companies.
The newspaper says that the sources, who asked not be identified to avoid offending Disney, said the company plans a pilot program later this year to transport employees in the electric-drive robot vehicles. If that goes well, they said, the shuttles would begin transporting park visitors sometime next year.
“Currently, there are no plans for driverless shuttles at Disneyland in Anaheim, according to the sources,” says the report. “The reason is unclear, but Florida puts few restrictions on driverless vehicle deployment, while California is overhauling regulations that have been criticised by industry as unnecessarily heavy handed.”