May Mobility’s rider-only vehicles, which leverage its proprietary Multi-Policy Decision Making technology, will operate daily during the week without an operator sitting in the driver's seat.  -  Photo: May Mobility

May Mobility’s rider-only vehicles, which leverage its proprietary Multi-Policy Decision Making technology, will operate daily during the week without an operator sitting in the driver's seat.

Photo: May Mobility

May Mobility is launching the company’s first driverless service for riders on public roads in Sun City, Ariz.

The company’s rider-only vehicles, which leverage its proprietary Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) technology, will operate daily during the week without an operator sitting in the driver's seat.

Sun City represents the first of many communities globally where May Mobility aims to launch its rider-only transit services to transform cities by providing accessible, safe, and reliable transportation.

How The Driverless Tech Works

May Mobility’s Multi-Policy Decision Making system is uniquely designed to solve the challenge of making safe driving decisions under uncertainty, including when the vehicle encounters an unknown scenario.

MPDM runs real-time, on-board simulations to analyze thousands of possible scenarios every second, choosing the safest one to execute. The approach to autonomous technology makes May Mobility vehicles adept at handling edge cases and enables the company to scale more efficiently and quickly than would otherwise be possible.

Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility, told METRO Magazine the company’s MPDM technology has undergone rigorous simulation and real-world testing and validation processes and is safe and ready to let riders experience full autonomy.

“We believe our proprietary system is a fundamentally more efficient and scalable approach to autonomy compared to other autonomous technology in the market,” he explains. “Our system uses onboard simulation to make decisions in real-time and can more nimbly assess situations it has never encountered to choose the safest, most comfortable option.”

Olson adds that May Mobility prioritizes safety, comfort, and autonomy — in that order.

To ensure passenger safety, the company employs a rigorous testing and validation process to ensure the reliability and robustness of its autonomous systems. It also has a dedicated site team that will remotely monitor the vehicles and provide assistance if needed.

“Our internal safety counsel tests all new releases before they go out, both through simulation and real-world testing and validation. The system is verified at multiple levels to make sure that we are operating as safely as possible,” says Olson. “As a result, we are confident in the safety of our offering but will continue to pay close attention to our performance in the field to ensure continued safe operations.”

Before transitioning to its rider-only service, May Mobility vehicles began operating on public roads in Sun City with a safety operator in April 2023.  -  Photo: May Mobility

Before transitioning to its rider-only service, May Mobility vehicles began operating on public roads in Sun City with a safety operator in April 2023.

Photo: May Mobility

The Path to Driverless

May Mobility launched its on-demand autonomous public transit service with TransitTech company Via, to serve the retirement community of Sun City and provide greater access to affordable mobility with shared, on-demand AVs.

Before transitioning to its rider-only service, May Mobility vehicles began operating on public roads in Sun City with a safety operator in April 2023.

The service was designed to allow the aging population to gain increased freedom and mobility safely and reliably. The lessons from this service set the foundation for the transition to a safe rider-only service designed to meet the needs of the local community.

“That initial deployment was a success and we believe that Sun City serves as an excellent kickoff location for our rider-only operations because of the insights we gleaned from our previous operations there and because the environment is very functional for AVs, says Olson. “Since we launched our Valley wAVe service in April, there has been consistent interest from the Sun City community in using our service, especially from those who previously used it.”

Through May Mobility’s first rider-only service, a select group of Early Riders in Sun City will now have the ability to request a pickup in one of May Mobility’s Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicles from a variety of stops. The rider-only service will initially operate on public roads Monday through Friday in the afternoon and will be available at no cost to Early Riders.

Sun City represents the first of many communities globally where May Mobility aims to launch its rider-only transit services to transform cities by providing accessible, safe, and reliable transportation.  -  Photo: May Mobility

Sun City represents the first of many communities globally where May Mobility aims to launch its rider-only transit services to transform cities by providing accessible, safe, and reliable transportation.

Photo: May Mobility

Next Steps

May Mobility’s rider-only service will be powered by Via and serve resident complexes, medical centers, and other key locations. The Early Riders consist of a group of Sun City residents with varying transportation needs.

Their feedback will play a pivotal role in shaping how the company continues to ramp up rider-only operations, keeping safety in mind at every step, and how AVs can be successfully used in public transit.

Olson says May Mobility’s public sector go-to-market strategy is to partner directly with community stakeholders like cities, transit agencies, municipalities, and government agencies to identify gaps in current public transportation systems and solve real transportation challenges for communities.

“We believe that by using AVs to bridge transit gaps we can fundamentally change the way people get around,” he says. “We aim to promote inclusivity within each community and ensure that everyone has access to reliable transportation.”

The company expects to significantly expand its rider-only services as part of its plan to improve transportation across markets.

“Based on rider feedback, May Mobility expects to expand and enhance its service areas to better serve its communities,” says Olson about the growth of driverless AV deployments. “May Mobility is currently in discussions with new partners and anticipates new diversified deployment site launches in 2024.”

About the author
Alex Roman

Alex Roman

Executive Editor

Alex Roman is Executive Editor of METRO Magazine — the only magazine serving the public transit and motorcoach industries for more than 100 years.

View Bio
0 Comments