Fishers to test company’s autonomous shuttle

Local

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — You won’t have to go far to test out an autonomous vehicle. Just head to Fishers, where a technology company will be offering one as a test shuttle.

PerceptIn, a technology company focused on “providing visual perception solutions,” will set up its global headquarters in Fishers.

The company’s pride and joy is the Dragonfly Pod — an autonomous vehicle similar in appearance to a golf cart.

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness says he really doesn’t know how this company will change the city’s landscape, because it’s going to have such a significant effect but he knows whatever happens will be positive.

“I think we’re ever-evolving and I think in Indiana and Fishers is synonymous with technology in a suburban environment,” Fadness said.

The company promises 160 well-paying jobs by 2022 as they move into the Indiana IoT Lab.

“We think it will lift the whole innovation economy throughout central Indiana,” said John Wechsler, founder and CEO of Indiana IoT Lab. “So, we’re excited to see this get started and who knows? In a year or two, you’re going to see autonomous people movers all over the communities throughout central Indiana.”

But you won’t have to wait that long for a sneak peek, because they’ve picked a one-mile stretch of road as a shuttle route for one of those autonomous vehicles.

“Fishers is going to be one of the first communities in America to have autonomous people movers that move people around our community,” Wechsler said. “From the tech park here to downtown Fishers, you can hop on a people mover. We’ll have a guide that will be on the vehicle to explain what’s going on, but it will move people seamlessly throughout our community.”

The shuttle will never go faster than 25 mph and you’ll only see it between Four Day Ray Brewery and Launch Fishers until the company can gauge how the community reacts.

“We’re going to start out with a very limited number and limited routes and limited time just so we can test it out, collect a little bit of data,” Wechsler said. “And then it’s our hope that PerceptIn will expand that over time and we’ll see that grow here in Fishers and beyond.”

In addition to public transportation, the vehicle will serve as a tourist attraction and an invitation for others to join a growing tech community.

“We also know from past experience that we will attract other development folks, other technology and innovation entrepreneurs,” Wechsler said. “So we think this will become a critical mass.”

No job openings for PerceptIn’s new headquarters had been listed on Friday.

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