Autonomous mini-bus giving free rides along downtown St. Pete waterfront

If you’re driving in downtown St. Petersburg, there’s a good chance you could be sharing the roadway with a self-driving vehicle.   

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is testing its Autonomous Vehicle Advantage -- or AVA -- shuttle for the next three months. 

Ava will be giving passengers a free trip along St Pete’s waterfront during that time.

The mini-bus has a max speed of 15 miles per hour and uses several cameras and 3D sensors to drive itself. 

here’s no steering wheel, though there is a human operator on board as a backup.  

“We are going to be getting a lot of data on how these interact with pedestrians, weather events, and other vehicles,” said Brad Miller, PSTA CEO.  

Rides are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. along Bayshore Drive on St. Pete’s waterfront.