Beep Unveils E-Autonomous Shuttle at MSU

MSU introduces an AI-enabled autonomous electric shuttle system in the Southeast Conference, for enhancing campus and community transportation with safety and sustainability.

Beep Unveils E-Autonomous Shuttle at MSU

United States- Mississippi State University (MSU)., of Starkville, USA had introduced autonomous electric shuttle system in campus which will be deployed by Beep, Inc., of Florida in USA, a supplier for autonomous vehicle, this system is the first of its kind in the state and the Southeastern Conference, contracted in Dec 2023 for the pilot phase of the pilot program.

In Sept 2024, MSU will introduce two autonomous shuttles, each seating up to 11 passengers, including an attendant. These shuttles will operate on two routes, connecting the campus core with key housing areas and popular entertainment spots, as part of a pilot project to assess their integration with other transportation modes on campus.

This September, Beep plans to map the navigation through, LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology for mapping routes and creating 3D scans, identifying parking and charging spots.

Beep provides MSU with autonomous vehicles until Nov. 30, gathering data for rural-urban transportation planning.

Mr. Jeremiah Dumas, MSU executive director of transportation, said, “We are excited to announce this special project which is going through several layers of approval, including the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Safety is the highest priority, as it is with any method of transportation,” he added, explaining the vehicles will not be allowed to operate on roads signed at more than 25 mph and are equipped with AI-enabled remote human supervision and self-governance. Although they will be self-driving, Dumas said each will have a full-time attendant on board.

“This trained staff member can operate the vehicle and assist passengers when needed and serve as an ambassador to provide information. Similar vehicles have been in use at Yellowstone, in the Orlando, Florida metropolitan area, and near the Braves Stadium in Atlanta, at the Honolulu airport and beyond,” Dumas said. “Everywhere they’re deployed, people love them.”

“It’s natural for MSU to lead in applying this type of technology on campus and in the local town-and-gown community context because we already are a national and global leader in the realm of unmanned and autonomous vehicles,” Dumas emphasized. “MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems and Raspet Flight Research Laboratory are doing research on autonomous, remote vehicles.” He said he hopes for the chance to partner with other institutions to form a research consortium and expand the study period to further test use of autonomous vehicles in rural-urban settings.

“We absolutely see this as a long-term operational opportunity for these shuttles to be part of our daily solution. Our ultimate goal is to understand the role an autonomous mobility system such as this can play on campus. Do they work on campus where there are a lot of riders, or do we need to look at a longer route with fewer riders? We don’t know yet, and we want to see what we find out,” Dumas said. “We did pretty extensive research to understand that this is something we wanted to invest in.”