These new shuttles are pretty cozy, with just six seats, one of which is reserved for an attendant who can override the car's computer when safety calls for it.

They're a first step toward a future where more (if not most, or all) public transportation could be built around self-driving vehicles. State transportation officials say they plan to collect data from this pilot program to prepare for whatever new technology is to come.

The full route -- which is available on RIDOT's website -- takes passengers from the Statehouse to Providence's Olneyville neighborhood.

In the first shuttle to roll out down Smith Street were Gov. Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

"I was a little nervous at first," Elorza said. "Then, I gotta admit, it was kind of boring. It’s a car ride!"

Asked whether the shuttle hit any potholes along the way, Raimondo shook her head.

"It must have swerved around them," she said, "because I'm sure there were some."