Yellowstone National Park is testing out electric driverless shuttles this summer

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Yellowstone National Park is filled with wildlife and photo-perfect views, but the latest attractions visitors can expect to see in the park are TEDDYs. We aren’t talking about the stuffed bears you can pick up at the gift shop. TEDDY stands for The Electric Driverless Demonstration in Yellowstone.

TEDDYs (in honor of Roosevelt) are driverless, electric shuttles that started operating on June 9, 2021, and the shuttles will continue to be used until August 31, 2021.

“We’re very pleased to participate in this shuttle pilot and test this evolving technology,” park superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement. “As visitation continues increasing in Yellowstone, we are looking at a range of visitor management actions that focus on protecting resources, improving the visitor experience, and reducing congestion, noise and pollution. Shuttles will unquestionably play a key role in helping achieve these goals in many of the busiest areas of the park.”

In April 2021, Yellowstone had 67,000 recreational visitors pass through its entrance — 40 percent more than April 2019, and more than the record of 59,000 people set in 2016. After a year of people staying home, Yellowstone is expected to break visitor records in 2021, according to Billings Gazette.

The $360,000 TEDDY project was funded in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, and the vehicles, which can transport eight passengers, were provided by Beep and Local Motors.

“Our 3D-printed vehicle structure is made from recyclable materials, and the vehicle utilizes a fully electric drivetrain, reflecting our commitment to making mobility more sustainable. We are excited to be bringing this technology to the NPS,” Local Motors president Vikrant Aggarwal said in a press release.

Although the shuttles are autonomous, each one is monitored by an attendant for anything unexpected. Visitors will be able to ride for free through the Canyon Village campground, visitor services, and adjoining visitor lodging area.