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Beep Earns its Keep with Autonomous Pizza Delivery to VA Health Care Workers

Beep Earns its Keep with Autonomous Pizza Delivery to VA Health Care Workers

Orlando's Beep autonomous shuttle has no human passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is delivering lunch instead.

Image source: Beep

Autonomous people-movers aren’t needed when there are no people traveling around the Lake Nona, Florida innovation center that is home of the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center, so Beep has repurposed its self-piloted shuttles to deliver to the medical centers health care workers. Beep is an autonomous shuttle company for fleet operators in planned communities and low speed environments.

The boxy shuttles roll around the Lake Nona innovation hub that is home to both Beep and the VA hospital, so they are perfect for the job. Lake Nona is also home to Park Pizza & Brewing Company, so there’s a convenient source of pizzas for the health care workers.

Image source: Beep

Normally the little buses hum their way around a fixed route through Lake Nona, but their operation is paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. This leaves them available for crucial pizza delivery service.

“It’s an honor to provide for those who are on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Joe Moye, CEO of Beep. “Mobilizing our team and partnerships in any way we can to support our communities is necessary in this time of need.”

“There are hundreds of healthcare workers in our backyard in Lake Nona Medical City that are on the frontlines of this crisis each and every day,” said Jennifer Thompson, area director of Tavistock Restaurant Collection, which owns several restaurants in the community in addition to Park Pizza. “Our restaurants have demonstrated ongoing support for our healthcare workers in these challenging times, and this latest lunch delivery is a wonderful example of the generosity and collaboration that Lake Nona is known for,” she said.

Image source: Beep

Park Pizza & Brewing employees seal the pizza boxes, pile them on a cart and load them on the shuttle. When the Beep bus pulls up to the hospital, hungry health care workers just roll the cart off the shuttle and into the hospital, allowing those workers to stay on campus for lunch.

Beep and Tavistock Restaurants say that they are exploring other opportunities to employ the autonomous shuttles to serve the community during the pandemic. Last month, Beep and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority were able to use a fully autonomous Beep shuttle with no attendant onboard to transport COVID-19 tests at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville from a drive-thru testing site to the lab building on the property, minimizing human contact and exposure.

Here’s hoping that the next phase of the program involves Park Pizza & Brewing loading some of their liquid products onto the Beep shuttle and having it swing by the hospital at the end of the day to deliver the health care workers some refreshment and a lift home.

 

Dan Carney is a Design News senior editor, covering automotive technology, engineering and design, especially emerging electric vehicle and autonomous technologies.

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