May Mobility, an Ann Arbor, Mich., startup building self-driving vehicles, in partnership with Bedrock, a full-service real estate firm, announced the first commercial deployment of independent autonomous vehicles on public streets in any urban core in America. The partnership will immediately embed self-driving shuttles into the daily fabric of downtown Detroit, and begin transporting passengers on June 27, 2018.
Under the partnership, May Mobility will provide a fleet of electric vehicles to Bedrock. These vehicles will transport Quicken Loans and its Family of Companies' close to 18,000 employees between their offices, parking sites, events, and other downtown destinations, beginning with a one-mile loop connecting the a local parking garage to sites in the heart of downtown Detroit.
May Mobility maps, tests, and adds environmental sensors to routes block-by-block, which delivers a unique approach to autonomous transportation, according to the company. This helps solve parking, traffic and land management issues for municipalities, developers, and business customers across the U.S.
The vehicles are deployed among other cars, cyclists, pedestrians and more, making self-driving vehicles a normal part of everyday life. As a result, May Mobility gathers invaluable data from vehicles, riders, business and community partners, which is crucial in helping expand services to additional roads and highways in the future.
"Our technology allows us to provide fully-managed transportation services that outperform traditional services on wait time, rider satisfaction, and other metrics," said Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility.
As part of the expansion, May Mobility has opened its first office outside of Ann Arbor at a new facility in Detroit. From this location, May Mobility will provide full-time operational support for the Bedrock Bricktown route, store and charge the shuttles, and coordinate future route expansion.
May Mobility's shuttle platform highlights three key focus areas:
- Self-driven: Builds and ships safe, reliable, and enjoyable autonomous driving capabilities that riders love. This service is offered initially in fleets of May Mobility's six-seater electric shuttle for short distance trips, which will grow into more offerings of other fleets and service models in response to customer needs.
- Community-driven: Provides the "human touch" by creating a local presence through a hands on operations support team based in local offices. May Mobility starts by designing a specific route in response to a customer's need, and continuing throughout the partnership for maintenance, upgrades, and more.
- Data-driven: Offers detailed analytics and reporting to track vehicles, optimize fleet usage, and empower customers to make smarter decisions about transportation.
This approach — partnering with developers, urban planners and municipalities to understand their needs and design solutions. At launch, May Mobility will have attendants in vehicles to help orient first-time riders and to monitor the vehicles. The company will offer on-demand services and expand its suite of vehicles and services in 2019.