AUSTELL, Ga. -- A shuttle bus that drove itself -- along with human passengers -- through a course in a parking lot near Atlanta is giving people a ride that they've quite possibly never experienced before.
The Alliance for Transportation Innovation offered rides in the 12-person bus on Thursday in Austell before embarking on a tour that will include stops in Texas and California.
11Alive's Commuter Dude Jerry Carnes took a ride one of the self-driving shuttles and said it was a ride like never before: "It takes some getting used to."
Officials with the Washington, D.C.-based organization said a key goal of Thursday's demonstration and future ones is to give people a chance to see and ride in a driverless vehicle.
Alliance President and CEO Paul Brubaker said public acceptance is one of the main challenges to getting the vehicles into use on city streets and highways.
"The transformative technologies have already been developed," he told 11Alive. "It's a question of perfecting them, making them much more reliable, bringing them out to the public so they can see them, literally 'kick the tires' and ride in them."
The shuttles are pre-programmed for specific routes that saved by a computer and won't go any faster than 25 mph. They also depend on cameras and sensors, meaning it can even determine when a person or object is in front of it, triggering it to stop.
"It's a rolling computer platform, essentially," Brubaker said. "It's got computer processing and this computer processing allows it to really kind of understand the environment in which it's operating."
Those behind the technology believe the technology essentially eliminates any human error, leading to fewer crashes and more safety on our highways.
Brubaker said it's possible Atlanta could see these driverless shuttles on smaller surface streets soon, but the long-term vision is for driverless vehicles to be on interstates on state highways. The biggest challenge right now, he said, are rules and laws in some states.
Similar demonstrations for the shuttles are planned in Arlington, Texas; Los Angeles and San Jose, Calif.
Content from the Associated Press was used in this report.