LAKE NONA, Fla. — Dennis Delehanty has lived in Washington and Switzerland, but upon visiting Orlando’s Lake Nona community within the past few years, he decided it felt like home.

“Here is a perfectly walkable neighborhood,” Delehanty said. “It’s really beautifully designed.”

After Wednesday, commuting around Lake Nona stands to be even busier moving forward with the addition of driverless shuttles.

“(It's) a little science fiction and to me. This is incredible,” Delehanty said. “This is the city of the future, Lake Nona, Laureate Park. And it’s actually happening in front of our eyes.”

The shuttles are being operated by a company called Beep. The company is so confident in the program, it's building its command center in Lake Nona.

Another company called Navya acts as the hardware to Beep's software, and they are simply relishing the moment.

“We’re so excited,” Navya Chief Operating Officer Jerome Rigaud said. “It’s a great achievement from all teams.”

A few things that caught our interest:

  • We learned on our visit that there is an operator on board. He does very minimal work, but if he does need to start and stop the vehicle for any reason, he does so with a controller that might look familiar to some — it’s an Xbox 360 controller.
  • The vehicle's brains are said to work three times faster than that of a human's. The vehicles learn their route down to a pot hole or tree just off the road and are able to adapt quickly.
  • For now, there are only two ride vehicles, and the rides are free from Lake Nona’s Town Center to Laureate Park, about a mile away.