Meet the Mines Rover!

Image courtesy of Colorado School of Mines Flickr

by Lauren D’Ambra

Step aside R2-D2, Ultron, and WALL-E, there’s a new form of AI in town! On August 10, 2021 Colorado School of Mines, in partnership with EasyMile and the City of Golden, launched a fleet of driverless rovers across campus and the Golden area. The rovers are 100% electric, autonomous vehicles and currently hold the honor of being the largest deployment of low-speed autonomous electric shuttles in the nation.

As there is a lot of excitement and mystery surrounding the new rovers, the Oredigger decided to set out and get some answers to some of our most prevalent questions. Read on to learn more about the Mines rovers!

Who can use the shuttles?

Just about anyone! The shuttles were launched specifically with Mine’s students in mind, but the shuttles are also open to the general public. The shuttles have 6 seats and are also wheelchair accessible. 

How much do the shuttles cost?

The shuttles are completely free to use.

Where do the shuttles go?

There are currently three shuttle routes: Earth, Energy, and Environment. The Earth route connects the central Mines campus to the Clear Creek Athletics Complex and Lot K. The Energy route provides access from central campus to downtown Golden. The Environment route gives Mines Park residents easy access to central campus. So, whether you’re craving Woody’s Pizza or are gearing up for a football game, the Mines Rovers have you covered!

When do the shuttles operate?

The shuttles currently operate 7:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. These dates and times are subject to change with different campus and Golden events.

Do you have to wear a mask to ride the shuttle?

As of right now, yes, riders are required to wear a face covering while riding. Federal transit regulations currently require all passengers to wear a mask or other appropriate face covering through at least September 13, 2021. 

How do the shuttles work?

The Mines Rovers use several different forms of autonomous technology to ensure an efficient and safe ride. The rover’s sensors, called LIDAR sensors, use laser pulses to build a complete 360 degree view of the rover’s surroundings. The LIDAR sensors operate very quickly and very accurately and provide accurate measurements of the rover’s surroundings. The rovers also rely on GPS data to triangulate their position at any given time.

Are the shuttles safe? 

Absolutely! The rovers have been thoroughly tested before being set up on the Mines campus. The rovers can only reach a maximum speed of 12mph, providing a slow and steady ride, and to top it off, each rover has a Customer Service ambassador to answer questions and monitor the rover’s travel. The ambassadors can also manually direct the shuttle if necessary. So, what are you waiting for? Go check out the rovers today!

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