CASSI (Connected Autonomous Shuttle Supporting Innovation) is currently riding loops around Fred G. Bond Metro Park from now until June 2nd. The top speed reaches 12.3 MPH, but moves slower around turns and parking lots.
The company behind CASSI, Beep, operates vehicles in business campuses, airports, national parks, and more.
While CASSI drives autonomously, an attendant is present to ensure operations go smoothly, as well as to assist with making sure it is safe to make a turn. In other locations, the vehicle operates without an attendant and is instead monitored remotely by a larger team.
This pilot program comes from a partnership with NCDOT and the Town of Cary to help test the capabilities of these types of autonomous vehicles and the benefits they may bring. While the technology is still young, CASSI offers a glimpse into what future public transportation may look like in metro areas.
It is completely free to jump on board and take a ride with CASSI, and the attendant is there to explain how it works and answer any questions you might have. There are 4 stops that you can board CASSI, which include:
- Bond Park Boat House
- Bond Park Community Center
- Sertoma (Kiwanis) Shelter
- Cary Senior Center
To board, all you have to do is wait at the sign that reads “AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE TESTING STOP” (pictured below).
The vehicle is fully electric and lasts 5-7 hours with a single charge. It can not operate under heavy rain or snow (as this would negatively impact the ability for the vehicle to ‘see’), so make sure to visit on a non-stormy day.
Round-trip takes around 20 minutes, and since there is only one vehicle, it may take a while before you can jump on board. Only 8 people and the attendant can ride at once, and the seats are small, so you may have to wait additional time depending on how full CASSI is by the time it gets to your stop.
CASSI will run Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Only service animals are allowed, and those 15 and under must ride with an adult. Wheelchair lifts are available at every stop.