Driverless Shuttles to Begin Shuffling Staff in Downtown Detroit

Driverless Shuttles to Begin Shuffling Staff in Downtown Detroit

Author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

Autonomous vehicles are being heavily marketed to consumers in cities, as the vehicles are expected to cure the ever-growing problem of congestion that plague major cities. Instead of having drivers use their own vehicles to get from point A to point B, driverless vehicles can ferry people to their desired locations and then head back home or find a parking spot on their own. But that's on a large scale, and some companies are looking for ways to integrate self-driving tech on a smaller level to help city dwellers get around. 

Waymo offered individuals in Phoenix, Ariz. a public trial of self-driving car pickups, where early riders were able to get a ride in one of the company's autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans to one of the state's nearby cities, which included Tempe, Messa, Gilbert, and Chandler earlier this April. Uber also had a similar program of its own, which offered autonomous car pickups for users last September. 

Driverless Shuttle For Detroit Employees

But both of those programs were on a large scale. And cities can be massive, which means that autonomous cars, even on a smaller level, can drastically impact the way people get around. According to a report by Crain's Detroit, Dan Gilbert's Bedrock LLC company has teamed up with Ann Arbor, Mich.-based May Mobility Inc. to shuttle drivers to and from a parking structure. Gilbert made the announcement at an event at the Technology in Motion conference last week. 

"We're taking a square block here and testing a couple of vehicles that are ready to go," said Gilbert at the event. According to the outlet, the autonomous shuttle service will transport employees from the First National Building in Cadillac Square to the Bricktown Parking Garage at Beaubien and Fort Streets, which is approximately one third of a mile away and would seven minutes for a walker to complete. 

The test run will operate from October 9 to 13 from 7 to 10 P.M. for a total of 15 hours of testing, states Crain's Detroit. The shuttles will operate autonomously without any assistance from a human operator. 

"We are not going after government grants and things like that to be able to fund [the program]," said Alisyn Malek, co-founder and COO of May Mobilty. "We are working as a business looking to gain strong customers and partners in the community." 

Fully-Electric, Autonomous Shuttles Preview The Future

According to the report, citing May Mobility CEO Edwin Olson, the electric vehicles are manufactured by Polaris Industries Inc., which is headquartered in Medina, Minn. and have a total of six doors and six seats. The upcoming program marks the sixth time May Mobility has undertaken a major autonomous vehicle project, claims the outlet. 

"This is a huge opportunity for us, and we are really committed to making sure it goes extremely well," said Olson. "The whole company is focused on this. There are a lot of internal resources dedicated to this project." 

According to the report, Olson claims that Gilbert's transportation team is looking for a green and safe method of transportation for the company's employees. "We are trying to move the technology out of the research phase and into making Detroit better," said Olson. "Our goal is to identify places where we can work safely and quickly as possible. Our approach is to cherry pick the routes today, get them running and to slowly grow over time." 

If the shuttle service does well, it could spread to other companies in Detroit before moving to other parts of the U.S. 

via: Crain's Detroit

Vineeth Joel Patel
Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
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