Walt Disney World in Florida appears poised to launch the highest-profile commercial deployment of driverless passenger vehicles to date, testing a fleet of driverless shuttles that could cart passengers through parking lots and around its theme parks.
According to sources with direct knowledge of Disney’s plans, 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. It’s unclear whether contracts would go to both or just one of the companies.
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.
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