May Mobility to launch AV shuttle in Ann Arbor

Riley Beggin
The Detroit News

Pontiac — May Mobility, Mcity at the University of Michigan and economic development group Ann Arbor SPARK are launching a free autonomous vehicle shuttle service in Ann Arbor, the organizations announced Tuesday. 

The shuttle, dubbed A2GO, will begin providing rides on Oct. 11 in five autonomous on-demand cars. The fleet includes four hybrid-electric Lexus RX 450h vehicles and one Polaris GEM vehicle, which has capacity for one wheelchair passenger. 

A May Mobility vehicle.

The vehicles will service a 2.64-square-mile area between Kerrytown and downtown, the University of Michigan’s Central and South campuses, Pulse Campus and the State Street corridor from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"Our vision is to transform cities through autonomous mobility and change the way people get around," Edwin Olson, CEO of Ann Arbor's May Mobility, said during a news conference at Motor Bella, which opened Tuesday at M1 Concourse in Pontiac. "I see the launch in Ann Arbor as a step toward our future."

Students, faculty, community members and visitors can access the service using the May Mobility app. The company also has autonomous shuttles in Grand Rapids; Arlington, Texas; Hiroshima, Japan; and Indianapolis. 

The group received funding for the effort through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, which provide grants to mobility and electrification companies looking to deploy their technology in Michigan. The program will create 20 jobs after May Mobility has grown its workforce two-and-a-half times in the past 14 months, Olson said.

Mcity will collect data from the project: "With this data, we'll be able to build useful data sets and make them available to academic research at the University of Michigan and others that can help lead to pedestrian safety initiatives, for example, or improve vehicle decision-making or perception algorithms in the future."

Twitter: @rbeggin

Staff Writer Breana Noble contributed.