Senior women and male driver posing for picture in self-driving car

Share Via Email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Lakewood Residents Test Self-Driving Cars

Remember when flying cars and robots were a thing you saw on television and imagined for the future? It appears that the future has arrived at Lakewood. On June 14, senior residents and Lakewood team members had the opportunity to take a test ride in an autonomous car.

Representatives from Perrone Robotics in Crozet, Va. were on hand to demonstrate how the vehicle works with a series of test drives throughout the community. The technology is being vetted as a possible transportation option for residents.

Resident Nan Truman was a bit apprehensive before taking a spin in the robotic car. “We’ll see,” she said. “It’s a whole new world!”

Upon return, she said that the ride was, “effortless,” and “very comfortable.”

Perrone representatives traveled to Lakewood earlier this month to map the community with self-driving technology. Certain stops around the community were programmed into a map and representatives explained that as the vehicles drove through the community over time, the technology would learn the traffic patterns and become more adapted to the roads, pedestrian and traffic flow. Resident Joan Kerby said she loves new technology like this.

“I loved it! It’s very innovative and the residents will love it,” Kerby said. “It would be a real coup for Lakewood and LifeSpire, a real selling point!”

LifeSpire’s Chief Marketing Officer Peter Robinson explained that the test drives are part of the exploratory phase of the process that could bring innovation and increased access to Lakewood residents.

“We’re in the initial testing phase for the autonomous shuttle as a means to reduce transportation costs and provide residents with another means to get from point A to point B around the community,” he said. “We wanted to give residents a chance to test out the technology and see if it might be a good fit. I look forward to hearing their feedback moving forward!”

Perrone Robotics technology can be used in the current shuttles that are operational in the community or other types of vehicles like the six-person GEM electric vehicle, made by Polaris, that was demonstrated for residents. Each seat is equipped with a seatbelt and the vehicle itself can be manually driven if necessary.

“We really need this,” said Kerby. “This is the wave of the future and it’s time we get on the bandwagon.”