Soon you may be able to travel from one area of the downtown to another in a driverless vehicle.

Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) has awarded a $50,000 grant to North Carolina A&T State University to create a prototype and deploy two self-driving shuttles for the downtown area.

The funds are going to the North Carolina Transportation Center of Excellence in Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technology (NC-CAV) at the College of Engineering at A&T.

Dean of the College of Engineering Robin Coger said, “Our college’s partnerships with private industry and government are critical to our ability to engineer effective solutions to the complex challenges facing Greensboro, the nation and the world. This transportation collaboration with DGI is exciting, and we are looking forward to the impact of the results that will be produced as we continue to work together.”

A&T’s AutoDrive team placed second overall and first nationally in the SAE/General Motors AutoDrive Challenge last year and will advance to the third challenge this summer.

DGI President and NC-CAV board member Zack Matheny said, “We’re excited to be part of this trailblazing and revolutionary form of transportation. One of the proposed Big Moves of the 2030 Vision Plan is to incorporate the use of autonomous vehicles, which is an innovative step that will set Greensboro apart from other cities, attract new businesses to the area and retain talented students who are prepared to make an impact as they enter the workforce.”

NC-CAV Director and A&T College of Engineering Associate Professor Ali Karimoddni said, “This collaboration makes it possible to have Greensboro as one of the pioneer cities in the nation that is practicing deployment of autonomous vehicles as part of the roadmap to become a smart city with a smart transportation system.”

The obvious question is when will the self-driving shuttles appear in downtown Greensboro. When texted that question, Matheny replied “ASAP,” which is not a very definite answer, but will have to do for now.