Which is why campuses are so exciting to people like Alex Rodrigues, a co-founder of Varden Labs. His company, and others producing driverless shuttles like it (there are a few of them), see inroads on university, office, and assisted living campuses where streets are shielded from many of the inconveniences of government oversight.
Varden Labs got its start on a $35,000 grant, hardly Google money. But since summer 2015, Rodrigues and his team have been tinkering with autonomous golf carts on university campuses—first at the University Waterloo, where they were students, now on a five-college California tour that will take them from Sacramento State to UCLA. Their current model’s name is Alvin. Hello, Alvin: