Komal Doshi, Ann Arbor SPARK director of mobility programs, announced the initiative in a joint press conference at Motorbella. “Ann Arbor is one of the few places in the world where this type of project is possible. We have the infrastructure and talent to support the research, development, testing, and deployment of autonomous vehicle technology all right here, and that’s why companies like May Mobility, !important Safety, and so many others choose to locate in Ann Arbor.”
Free on-demand service connects Kerrytown, U-M campus and State Street corridor
May Mobility, Mcity and Ann Arbor SPARK today inaugurated the launch of A2GO, a new autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle service serving the Ann Arbor community. The free shuttle service is available to the public beginning Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, thanks in part to a grant through the mobility efforts of the state of Michigan. Additional partners on A2GO include !important Safety Technologies, 4M, Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
As part of the A2GO service, May Mobility will operate a fleet of five autonomous, shared, on-demand vehicles. Four hybrid-electric Lexus RX 450h vehicles (with three passenger capacity) and one Polaris GEM fully electric vehicle (with capacity for one wheelchair passenger) will operate in a 2.64 square-mile service area connecting Kerrytown with Downtown, the University of Michigan’s Central and South campuses, Pulse Campus and the State Street corridor. The free service is available Monday through Friday from 8 am – 8 pm and riders will access the service via the May Mobility app, which is available through the Apple App store and Google Play.
“From the talented workforce to the proximity of strong private and municipal partnerships, Ann Arbor has played a critical role in May Mobility’s success,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “We are proud to bring our autonomous shuttle service to not just our hometown, but the place where our technology was born.”
Since originally announcing service in Ann Arbor, May Mobility has hired four full-time employees and will hire up to 20 autonomous vehicle operators to support the full A2GO deployment, with several open positions currently hiring. On October 12, 2021, May Mobility will host an official launch event in Ann Arbor offering demonstrations of its autonomous technology.
A2GO is May Mobility’s eighth shuttle deployment since the company began operations. May Mobility is currently operating shuttles in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Arlington, Texas, Hiroshima, Japan, and Indianapolis, Indiana.
“The deployment of A2GO exemplifies Michigan’s leadership and innovation in public-private partnerships to facilitate long lasting change within our mobility ecosystem,” said Trevor Pawl, Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer. “We are excited to see the results of this pilot in the Ann Arbor community, as well as the next-generation solutions the team at May Mobility continues to bring to the state of Michigan.”
In developing A2GO, May Mobility worked with community and strategic partners who shared the company’s vision for equitable and sustainable public transportation solutions.
“Mcity is excited to be a partner in bringing A2GO to Ann Arbor,” said Greg McGuire, Associate Director at Mcity. “If we want to build the safer, greener, more accessible world we’re all striving for, learning by doing is essential. A2GO takes Mcity from an academic lab to a living lab, and will help us learn what we should be thinking about next.”
The A2GO service demonstrates how communities can work together to incorporate transportation, safety, land use, and economic development into the mobility landscape. One of the community partners involved in A2GO is 4M, Ann Arbor’s first co-living townhomes that offer co-working and mobility solutions to their members. A2GO’s site operations are located at 4M’s site, including garage parking for May Mobility’s autonomous shuttles, material storage and offices for onsite staff that maintain daily operations, train autonomous vehicle operators (AVOs) and manage rider and AVO communications.
“Our partnership with May Mobility and the other A2GO team members is critical to our evaluation of future value-based housing and lifestyle solutions and our planning for upcoming real estate projects and developments,” said Margaret Poscher, CEO at Prentice4M.
For !important Safety Technologies, a Montreal-based company with their US Headquarters in Ann Arbor, A2GO provides an opportunity to further advance their pedestrian safety technology, which communicates with nearby AVs to prevent collisions.
“!important is pleased to join the A2GO project as an opportunity to innovate with the population of Ann Arbor,” said Bastien Beauchamp, CEO of !important Safety Technologies. “For the first time, the public will have a direct input in the detection from an autonomous vehicle via our Free Mobile App. The anonymous data collected will help the city identify the weak and less safe zones in order to better plan infrastructures.”
The A2GO service also demonstrated the important role that Ann Arbor SPARK plays in advancing mobility in Ann Arbor and ensuring the community continues to be seen as a leader in the testing and adoption of AV technologies.
“Ann Arbor SPARK’s mission is to identify what businesses in our community need to grow, and with May Mobility, it was access to an urban living lab where it could test, advance, and deploy its technology,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO, Ann Arbor SPARK. “It’s exciting to see A2GO launch and know that autonomous vehicle innovation isn’t just being developed here, but also enthusiastically welcomed as part of our region’s mobility infrastructure. Having leading edge technology on the streets in Ann Arbor is a signal that companies pushing towards what’s next will push forward here.”
About May Mobility
May Mobility is a leader in autonomous vehicle technology development and deployment. With more than 285,000 autonomous rides to date, May Mobility is committed to delivering safe, efficient and sustainable shuttle solutions designed to complement today’s public transportation options. The company’s ultimate goal is to realize a world where self-driving systems make transportation more accessible and reliable, the roads safer, and encourage better land use in order to foster more green, vibrant, and livable spaces. For more information, visit maymobility.com.
Mcity at the University of Michigan is leading the transition to connected and automated vehicles. Home to world-renowned researchers, a one-of-a-kind test facility, and on-road deployments. Mcity brings together industry, government, and academia to improve transportation safety, sustainability, and accessibility for the benefit of society. For more information, visit https://mcity.umich.edu.
About Ann Arbor SPARK
Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from startups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.
About Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME)
The Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) works to increase mobility investment, expand Michigan’s smart infrastructure, enable the state’s mobility workforce and accelerate electric vehicle adoption to reaffirm Michigan as the global leader in transportation. The Office brings together mobility and electrification efforts across Michigan’s government, academic and private sector to create long-term economic opportunity and accelerate the development, deployment and adoption of advanced mobility technologies. It spans the existing foundation of successful state-led mobility initiatives through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy, among others. Visit www.michiganbusiness.org/OFME to learn more.
Established in 2016, Prentice 4M is a premier Operator of Lifestyle Assets which are created through the alchemy of space, cost, style and convenience. Designed from the ground up as a platform that helps improve the lives of its guests, 4M provides flexibility and bespoke services to enhance living, working and socializing, creating a foundational sense of purpose based on the experiences 4M develops. Learn more at www.prentice4m.com.
About !important Safety Technologies
!important Safety Technologies is an Ann Arbor-based startup that developed the world’s first ViDAR to complement vehicle cameras, radars, lidars, and sonars. !important’s free mobile safety app safely and anonymously detects pedestrians, wheelchairs, e-scooters, bicyclists, and motorcyclists to protect them from vehicular collisions. Their technology can also alert the A2GO Autonomous Vehicle Supervisor to apply the vehicle’s brakes when needed. To download !important’s Safety app for free, please visit www.important.com.