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May Mobility launches Detroit autonomous vehicle pilot

May Mobility, a developer of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, has launched its Detroit Automated Driving Systems (ADS) pilot in partnership with the City of Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation (OMI) and the Michigan Mobility Collaborative (MMC).

The “Accessibili-D” service aims to improve the quality of life for Detroiters who live with disabilities or are age 62 and older.

The service will be available to select residents of Detroit starting Thursday, June 20, 2024 through 2026.

May Mobility will deploy three AVs, including two wheelchair-accessible vehicles, to help participants achieve greater access to healthcare facilities, shopping centers, jobs, and social and recreational activities.

The free service will operate across 68 stops in 11 square miles of downtown Detroit Monday and Wednesday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm and on the weekend from 8 am to 1 pm.

People interested in riding the service must submit an Expression of Interest form and will be contacted to enroll. Once enrolled, they can book a ride through the Accessibili-D app, powered by Via, the global leader in TransitTech, or by calling (734) 209-3408.

Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility, says: “Many Detroiters have trouble getting around due to the costs of owning a car or mobility challenges arising from age or disabilities.

“We’re excited to show how autonomous technology can help in Detroit, where we will be launching our largest service area to date.”

Last July, the Detroit City Council unanimously approved a $2.4 million contract with May Mobility to provide the Accessibili-D service.

The MMC and May Mobility have conducted a variety of outreach programs within the community to educate future riders about the benefits of May Mobility’s AVs and to pinpoint specific locations of interest around downtown Detroit that best serve the members using the service.

Based on rider feedback, May Mobility and OMI plan to further expand the service zone over the coming months with additional stops and vehicles.

Tim Slusser, chief of the Office of Mobility Innovation at the City of Detroit, says: “We’re thrilled to launch the ‘Accessibili-D’ autonomous shuttle service, a vital step toward enhancing mobility for our older residents and those with disabilities.

“This free, innovative service will provide safe and efficient transportation, greatly improving access to essential services for residents who have faced difficulty navigating their needs in the city.

“We are thankful for the expert collaboration of the institutions and individuals at the Michigan Mobility Collaborative and May Mobility for their invaluable partnership. Together, we’re making Detroit a more inclusive city for all.”

May Mobility performed extensive vehicle testing with the University of Michigan’s Mcity and the American Center for Mobility (ACM) in preparation for launch.

Testing protocols included the Mcity Safety Assessment Program, made up of a Driver’s License Test and Driving Intelligence Test, and a comprehensive testing and evaluation process developed by ACM that simulated genuine scenarios encountered in urban settings like Detroit.

May Mobility’s AVs use its Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) technology to effectively navigate city streets. Each vehicle is equipped with multiple lidar, radar and cameras which feed MPDM a 360-degree view of its surroundings.

Using the data collected from the AV’s sensor suite, MPDM is able to virtually simulate thousands of possible scenarios every second.

As the AV detects vehicles, pedestrians, bikers and pets, MPDM quickly analyzes the best maneuver to perform in order to efficiently and safely reach its destination, even in unencountered situations.

The Detroit Automated Driving Systems pilot is May Mobility’s 14th deployment to date. The company currently operates in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Grand Rapids, Minnesota; Miami, Florida; Arlington, Texas and Sun City, Arizona.

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