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A&M-CC rolls out new 'self-driving' bus to get around campus

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 18:54:51-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is getting its first self-driving bus, and some university staff got to try it out for the first time Tuesday.

By 2020, we all thought we'd have flying cars. While it’s not the case, we do have self-driving cars.

And soon, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will join the futuristic trend as it prepares to roll out its brand new Gen3 autonomous bus, they're calling the "Surge".

Not only has it got the most up-to-date technology for an autonomous bus, but it's the only one of its kind in the country and it's right here in Corpus Christi.

The "Surge" will drive to different locations on campus with up to 12 passengers on board. The goal is to alleviate the university's parking problem, as well as to keep up with the times.

“The university has several challenges,” said Regional Transportation Authority CEO Jorge Cruz-Aedo. “It has obviously limited parking, and it has limited areas for the students. It's a large campus, and if you walked outside in the summer or in the winter, its either really hot or really cold, and this allows you a way to move within the campus in an air-conditioned or heated autonomous vehicle.”

Riding the "Surge" will be free, and people can track its path and schedule through the Transloc app.

“Corpus Christi has so much to offer and innovation and technology is part of that,” said A&M-CC President and CEO Kelly Miller. “We’re helping to lead that charge.”

But what about safety?

Danny Jamerson with EasyMile, the company that created the bus, said this same technology has been used in 30 countries, and has traveled more than 370,000 miles without any accidents.

“We built these vehicles with a number of sensors that have redundant zones, so that there’s more than one sensor seeing every area of the roadway in front of it,” said Jamerson. “And if they see anything coming they do stop. “That is the No. 1 safety procedure -- to stop.”

The first day students can begin using the "Surge" is Jan. 21, the first day of the 2020 spring semester.