Tip of the Week

Today, when you need a ride, you probably grab a taxi or use a ride-hailing service. You might also choose public transportation like busses and subways. Navya wants to change the way you get around with its autonomous electric shuttles.

These shuttles aren’t just prototypes. They’re on the road in over 20 countries and you can even find them in the US on the University of Michigan’s campus.

BestRide.com staffers had the chance to go for a ride in a Navya shuttle at the Movin’On with Michelin conference in Montreal. It accommodates 15 passengers – 11 seated and 4 standing – with plenty of room for backpacks and briefcases and feels surprisingly airy with an abundance of windows.

It’s fully autonomous with no driver, but any human can take over in an emergency and stop the shuttle, even though it doesn’t have a steering wheel. There are two emergency stop buttons and an Xbox controller plugged in and mounted just beneath the destination touchscreen. The controller can be used to drive the shuttle in a pinch.

The Navya shuttle isn’t designed to go blazing around the highway and in the US it isn’t permitted out on public roads. It has a top speed of only 15 mph, which makes it more suited to school or business campuses.

It’s also intended as a first and last mile travel solution. Rather than having to drive directly to a location where parking is sparse and traffic is congested, the Navya shuttle could provide service from an off-site area, helping reduce congestion in busy downtown areas.

Our ride took us along a pedestrian access road as people were entering the conference and, unsurprisingly, people got in the way. It was a challenging environment, but the shuttle was just fine.

It detected people at a preset distance and stopped when someone was too close. It also sounded a chime to let them know they were in the way and then waited until they moved before continuing to our chosen destination.

People don’t always pay attention and you might wonder what happens if they don’t hear the pleasant little warning chime. After 10 seconds, the shuttle emits a traditional car horn sound that simply cannot be missed.

While you might still be calling for a taxi today, the future of mobility includes more options. One day, vehicles like the Navya autonomous electric shuttle could be your first choice.

—Nicole Wakelin/BestRide.com

Car stats
According to the Car Care Council, the key to keeping vehicles running well is routine maintenance. Unfortunately many drivers fail to do so. A 2015 survey by the CCC found:

25% of vehicles had low or dirty engine oil.
13% had low or contaminated brake fluid.
18% had dirty air filters.
17% had inadequate cooling protection or low coolant levels.
16% needed new windshield wiper and 27% had low or contaminated washer fluid.
18% needed new belts.
Overall, 89% of vehicles were in need of at least one service or repair.

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Did you know
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that road debris played a role in more than 200,000 crashes from 2011 to 2014.

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