May Mobility, an innovative autonomous vehicle (AV) technology and shuttle operations company, in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids, Via and Gentex, have announced the launch of an on-demand AV shuttle service in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The expanded, on-demand service began on July 26, 2021, as part of Phase 2 of the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (AVGR), and
The on-demand service includes four May Mobility Lexus RX450h vehicles and one wheelchair-accessible Polaris GEM equipped with May Mobility’s autonomous technology. The service operates within a 1.36 square mile service zone that includes more than 20 designated pick-up and drop-off areas in downtown Grand Rapids. The May Mobility AV shuttles are free to ride and operate Monday – Friday from 7am – 7 pm.
May Mobility has adopted Via’s autonomous fleet platform to power booking, routing, passenger and vehicle assignment and identification, customer experience, and fleet management as part of the new flexible transit solution for this Grand Rapids deployment. The partners have a long-term strategy to introduce driverless on-demand shared transit systems in multiple locations. The Grand Rapids launch follows the companies’ joint RAPID autonomous vehicle service in Arlington, Texas. RAPID offers autonomous vehicle rides as part of the City of Arlington’s large on-demand public transit service with Via, and is the first-of-its kind in the USA.
Riders can request vehicles within the designated area of service by downloading the May Mobility mobile application. The app shows the rider the nearest pick-up location and suggested drop-off location within closest proximity to their point of interest. May Mobility and Gentex are also working together to integrate a data capture system with sensing pods into the May Mobility self-driving shuttles that will help the companies develop technology to track objects, monitor passenger health and safety, and keep the vehicle clean and operational.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the City of Grand Rapids through an expanded zone in the downtown area,” says Edwin Olson, co-founder and CEO of May Mobility. “The new service enables us to explore transportation needs in new areas of the community and provides additional opportunities for people to experience safer, greener, more accessible transportation through autonomous mobility.”
“The City of Grand Rapids has enjoyed its partnership with May Mobility to provide innovative mobility options through the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative,” says said Justin Kimura, the assistant director of Mobile GR. “We look forward to embarking on this next phase together and support continued development of autonomous mobility technology while providing another equitable mobility option to connect underserved neighborhoods in Ward 1 to the downtown area.”
“In order for autonomous vehicles to reach their full potential as part of large-scale transit networks, they must be on-demand, optimally routed, and shared by multiple passengers,” comments Cariann Chan, SVP of Business, Via. “We are proud to work with May Mobility to offer Via’s flexible platform to help achieve this goal, and to play a leading role in this new era of efficient and equitable transportation solutions in Grand Rapids.”
“We’re excited to continue our partnership with May Mobility,” says Neil Boehm, Gentex chief technology officer. “This service expansion not only provides the city with a unique, supplemental public transport hub, but also acts as a real-world laboratory for studying, evaluating, and testing various safety and convenience components necessary to better support passengers in the autonomous age.”