The Induct Navia isn't a household name, and it's not likely to become one, but you might just find it, or something like it, at your next big race or sports event.
The Navia, by Induct Technology, is a driverless electric shuttle unveiled earlier this year. A touchscreen onboard allows the passengers to select their desired destination, then the machine takes over, heading for the next stop using a laser-based obstacle detection system.
Because it's a shuttle designed to operate in pedestrian-rich environments, the top speed of the Navia is just 12.5 mph. That's not as quick as the typical shuttle bus, but it's a whole lot more efficient.
Keeping the Navia charged is easy, too; it returns to its inductive charge docking station on its own, charging without any human interaction required.
In other words, the Navia, demoed at the Circuit of the Americas during the recent Austin 360 Amphiteater presentation event, is a shuttle robot that can take care of itself, more or less. While we're still a bit leery of automated cars on the road, the idea of a hyper-efficient fleet of robotic shuttles getting us from the parking lot to the pit lane is pretty darned intriguing.
Induct hopes to make the Navia a staple in future urban public transport.
(c) 2013, High Gear Media.