CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Don't look for a driver, or even a steering wheel on the shuttle known as "CASSI," set to debut in Cary's Bond Park on March 6.
The Connected Autonomous Shuttle Supporting Innovation, or CASSI, was spotted testing its fixed route near Kiwanis Shelter on Wednesday.
"I can't believe it's driverless and no one's in there," Cary resident Kasie Padhye said.
The eight-passenger shuttle can operate at speeds up to 12 mph using sensors and GPS to navigate. It will make four stops at locations marked off by signs throughout the park.
"The CASSI pilot is the perfect combination of government collaboration, technology innovation, and citizen interaction that benefits the community at large," the Town of Cary said. "Staging the pilot in Bond Park gives us invaluable data and experience in seeing what autonomous vehicle technology can do in a safe, controlled, real-world setting, and allows us to think about what other potential applications the technology could bring to Cary."
The shuttle isn't new to North Carolina. It has previously been spotted cruising at NC State's Centennial Campus and along the Outer Banks. Plus, CASSI has been used in other states, like California.
"Back in Palo Alto, when they were doing the driverless car testing, I saw two of them come to a four way stop sign and they just stood," Padhye said. "They didn't know what to do. So it's like those little kinks that you see and you like hope they actually work out to make it safe for everybody around."
NCDOT said sensors continuously scan the shuttle's surroundings and signal for it to stop when an obstacle is too close. An attendant will also be present to take control of the vehicle, if needed, to ensure the safety of passengers, according to NCDOT.
The Town of Cary will launch CASSI at noon on Monday and the shuttle will run from the Cary Senior Center to Bond Park Community Center weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until June 2.