During a meeting in Technology Park, an office park in Peachtree Corners, the mention of an autonomous (self-driving) shuttle piqued my interest. Apparently, not only is it open for anyone in the city, but it’s an entirely costless form of public transportation unique to the city. As the shuttle pulled up to a sidewalk full of pedestrians nearby, I realized this may be something that could be revolutionary in changing public transitsystems everywhere.
As I waited at the bus stop, I was amazed to notice that the shuttle stopped only at sites where people were waiting. It also followed all of the basic rules of the road, like waiting at stop lights, slowing down when the speed limit changed and yielding to traffic. Although Tesla hasn’t seemed to have trouble mastering the art of self-driving, I am still apprehensive, so the autonomous vehicle’s ability to obey traffic laws kept my concerns at bay.
As I stepped aboard, I was surprised to see a group of people comfortably riding along, as if they were in a train, car, plane or bus being driven by a human. It comforted me to realize this is a daily commute for employees heading out on a lunch break or quickly running to a meeting in another Tech Park office building.
I admired Tech Park’s modern, slightly futuristic architecture and design as we rode along. The entire campus represents Peachtree Corners’ mission to drive innovation. I envisioned a future where cities had fleets of autonomous vehicles allowing computers to travel to work or lunch without gas stops or traffic accidents. Before I knew it, the shuttle was coming to a stop back where I had boarded.
Before I climbed back into my vehicle (which I sadly did have to drive myself), I noticed the shuttle pull off the main roadway and into a parking spot beside a solar-powered charging station. I was thoroughly impressed at the ability of these vehicles to care for and maintain themselves as anyone would be.
Whether you’re a Peachtree Corners resident, a Gwinnettian or from somewhere else entirely, I highly recommend a trip to Technology Park in Peachtree Corners for anyone hoping to get a reassuring glimpse of the future.