Post reporter tests Brooklyn Navy Yard’s self-driving shuttles

by Editorial Team

As I prepared to step into the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s new self-driving shuttles, I felt nervous.

“If the car can operate by itself, then why would it need a safety driver up front?” I thought to myself.

But once we zoomed off, I quickly got comfortable.

Watching the steering wheel turn on its own amazed me. When we approached a stop sign or intersection, I could feel the vehicle’s sensors buzzing, alerting it to come to a halt.

The robocar knows when pedestrians are crossing the street and lets them go on ahead, even when they don’t have the right of way. At one point, a truck was in our way, but our vehicle detected it and went around. My approximately five-minute ride was smooth and reminded me of a trip on an ATV.

If you don’t think about it too much, it feels like a regular car — but I don’t know how well it would fare on chaotic city streets, full of fast drivers, bikes, folks crossing the street wherever and a slew of other unpredictable happenings. Plus, I have doubts it could learn to be as aggressive as a New York driver.

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