USF Hosts Its First Ever Autonomous Vehicle Demonstration

USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and COAST Autonomous working together to showcase the future of urban mobility.The University of South Florida campus is hosting an autonomous vehicle demonstration featuring a self-driving shuttle along a busy central walkway. CUTR is using the demonstration to research student attitudes toward new modes of campus transportation.COAST Autonomous’ vehicles and technology can help reduce traffic, noise and pollution while increasing walkability, giving cities and campuses back to people.

TAMPA, Florida, Feb. 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In collaboration with COAST Autonomous, researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) have begun their first ever autonomous vehicle trial featuring a COAST P-1 Shuttle.

The P-1 Shuttle is being demonstrated on the USF Tampa campus and is providing USF employees and students a free, driverless ride.  The shuttle is driving itself along the walkway between the Library and the Campus Recreation Center.

Led by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at USF, this trial is the first of its kind on campus, leveraging a low-speed autonomous vehicle that is ideal for first and last mile transportation and can help increase pedestrianism and reduce CO2 emissions. The trial will last for one week, giving researchers the opportunity to gauge people’s reactions and attitudes towards these vehicles and showcasing how driverless vehicles can interact with pedestrians, cyclists and skateboarders in a very busy campus environment.

“The future of urban mobility will be electric, shared and a mix of modes including autonomous vehicles,” said Dr. Pei-Sung Lin of the Center for Urban Transportation Research. “We believe that new modes such as self-driving shuttles will form a key part of the next generation of urban transportation.  Seamless integration between existing and new modes of transportation will likely make for better urban environments.  It is great to be able to work with COAST to showcase an autonomous shuttle working in such a busy environment and we are very excited to see how our students react to new forms of transportation.”

The COAST P-1 Shuttle is a bi-directional, self-driving vehicle that is designed to operate in pedestrian areas or in mixed traffic (up to 25 mph).  The P-1 Shuttle can travel at higher speeds on a dedicated lane.  Electric wheel hub motors provide a smooth ride and allow for a larger floor plan within the vehicle because there are no axles.  The shuttle comfortably accommodates 8 seated and 4 standing, but with fewer seats could carry up to 20 passengers.  Additionally, the P-1 chassis can be configured as a delivery vehicle.  The vehicle is completely driverless and has no pedals or steering wheel.  It can operate on a network of predefined routes or be called on demand via a smartphone app, in which case the best route would be determined by COAST’s mapping software.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to work with CUTR and USF to showcase our P-1 Shuttle on campus.  It is great to see the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the students,” stated Pierre Lefevre, COAST CTO and inventor of the first low-speed autonomous shuttle.  “It is proving to be a great demonstration and I am very happy with the way the P-1 Shuttle is operating in this complex environment with so many pedestrians, bicycles and skateboards.   Our technology will also work in mixed traffic and on segregated lanes which will all form part of a seamless transportation experience that can increase walkability and improve urban and campus life.”

Dr. Robert Bertini, CUTR's Director, expressed his gratitude for the great work done by the CUTR team and COAST.  "This demo is an important part of CUTR's desire to use our campus environment as a testbed for future multimodal, sustainable transportation technology, including connected and automated vehicles.  Special thanks go to all of our USF campus leaders and external transportation colleagues for their support for this initiative."

About the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research:

Established in 1988, the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) thrives within the College of Engineering and proactively supports implementation of innovative multimodal transportation solutions and develop leaders through research, education and action. CUTR's multidisciplinary research focuses on public transportation, transportation planning, intelligent transportation systems, transportation demand management, economics and finance, geographic information systems, access management, corridor planning, alternative fuels, and transportation safety.  More information can be found at:

About COAST Autonomous:

COAST Autonomous is a software and technology company focused on delivering AV solutions for low-speed environments.  COAST’s mission is to build community by connecting people with mobility solutions that put pedestrians first and give cities back to people.  At the center of one of the fastest and most profound disruptions to impact the transportation and logistics industries, COAST has developed the full stack of Autonomous Vehicle (AV) software that includes mapping and localization, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), fleet management and supervision systems.  Partnering with proven manufacturers, COAST can provide a variety of vehicles equipped with its best-in-class software to offer Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solutions to cities, theme parks, campuses, airports and other low-speed environments.  Based in Pasadena, California, COAST’s team is recognized for its experience and expertise in all aspects of implementing and operating AV fleets while prioritizing safety and the user experience.  To learn how COAST Autonomous can help you power autonomous transportation in your environment, please visit


USF students board the COAST P-1 Shuttle to experience their first driverless ride in a trial led by CUTR.
(Photo by Aaron Hilf, USF)
The COAST P-1 Shuttle operates on the walkway between the Library and the Campus Recreation Center filled with pedestrians, bicyclists, and skateboarders on the busy USF campus. 
(Photo by Aaron Hilf, USF)

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