Next week, the University of Tennessee will officially launch the nation's first fully automated electric bike sharing program.
UT currently has 14 electric bikes that it will use for sharing through its CycleUShare program. One charging station is already set up in Presidential Court, while a solar charging station will later debut on the Agriculture Campus.
The bikes, which cost more than $1,500 each, have detachable batteries. The batteries power the bike and can assist riders when they traveling up or down hills.
Stacy Worley, senior research associate of UT's Biosystems Engineering Department, and Assistant Professor Chris Cherry helped create the program.
Worley said the program should work well for UT.
"One of the things that makes this program uniquely suited to UT's campus is the terrain," Worley said.
Junior David Grueser said he likes using the electric bikes to get around the campus' hills.
"It's just ease of transportation, getting from point a to point b is so much simpler than it was before," Grueser said.
The program is free for both UT students and faculty. More than 100 people have already signed up to be a part of it.
Cherry said there's no guarantee the program will expand, but for now it's doing a good job of exposing cycling to new, potential riders.
"People are seeing the system out here and they want to get involved," Cherry said.