Saline Area Social Services Receives 1,990 Pounds Of Donated Food by Autonomous Vehicle

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Image Credit: Jeremy Layman of Navya

How much food can you fit inside a Navya autonomous vehicle? It turns out that you can fit in about 1,990 pounds worth of donated food, according to Jodi Hilberer, the development manager of Saline Area Social Services.

Image Credit: Jeremy Layman of Navya

“It was more than we ever expected,” Hilberer said. “It will provide enough food for 1,168 meals.”

Image Credit: Jeremy Layman of Navya

The autonomous vehicle was filled all the way to the top with donations of food people across the local area. About $3,380 worth of food was donated from members of the public and unloaded at Saline Area Social Services on the morning of December 16.

Image Credit: Susan Candey at Saline Social Service.

Navya is a French autonomous vehicle manufacturer, based in Paris and Lyon. Its North American branch is based in Saline, and employs about 11 people locally. The shuttle is quite spacious on the inside and can seat up to 11 people. Normally it is sold to local municipalities, Layman added, and it runs autonomously. But because it was going down a public road, it was driven with an X-box controller. At least seven volunteers helped Saline Social Service staff to unload the vehicle.

Image Credit: Jeremy Layman of Navya

“It looked really cool going down Michigan Avenue. The drop off went very smoothly,” Jeremy Layman, Sales and Marketing coordinator at Navya, said. “We filled the shuttle all the way to the top and it took us like ten trips to empty it.”

Navya had to get special permission to drive the food up Michigan Avenue at its 15 mile per hour top speed, escorted by two vehicles from the Saline Police Department. Since Chief Jerrod Hart and his subordinate were there, they helped carry the food into the facility to be dispersed to the neediest.

Image Credit: Jeremy Layman of Navya

“It was really nice of them and for us to not only help out a local business, but to also showcase the giving spirit that all Salinians have in those food collections, to make sure that they got down to Saline Social Service,” Hart said. Hart added, “I think it is an awesome gesture on behalf of Navya, to fill up their autonomous vehicle and to take the initiative to collect that food for Saline Area Social Service.”

Image Credit: Jeremy Layman of Navya

If you still want to donate to the charity, you can at any time of the year. You can donate at their website, salinesocialservice.org, or at their physical location at 224 West Michigan Avenue. They take monetary donations, toiletries, and non-perishable food.

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