Self-driving shuttle designed to enhance quality of life in major cities attracts attention in Times Square

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A new low-speed self-driving shuttle, cruising through the epicenter of Manhattan, is literally stopping people in their tracks.

Designed by COAST Autonomous, the COAST P1 shuttle is the first of its kind and can hold about 20 people.

With the press of a button, actually an Xbox controller in this case, the shuttle is steered along a network of predefined routes. Sensors strategically placed around the vehicle can also detect if a person or object is in the way.

"If you want to get attention, you go to Times Square," Head of Urban Development Rick Baker said. "We're designing it for urban centers, for downtowns, for college campuses, for business parks, theme parks, airports."

Developers say the goal is to enhance quality of life in major cities by reducing traffic, noise, pollution and parking problems.

"This type of vehicle can allow cities like New York to make large pedestrian areas, and give the city back to the people," COAST Managing Director Adrian Sussmann said.

While there aren't any plans just yet for these shuttles to be utilized in New York City, Eyewitness News was curious how New Yorkers felt these new rides may fit in.

"It's so cool, like the technology," one teen said.

"Well the drivers are pretty (expletive), so why not?" another onlooker joked. "Let's try nobody for a change."

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