May Mobility, Mcity and Ann Arbor SPARK announced the launch of A2GO, a new autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle service during the Ann Arbor SPARK annual meeting today. The free shuttle service will be available to the public starting on Mon., 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.
“We are thrilled to be launching a new shuttle service here in our hometown so that our friends, family and the entire community of Ann Arbor can experience our self-driving technology first hand,” said Edwin Olson, founder and CEO of May Mobility.
May Mobility will operate a fleet of five autonomous, shared, on-demand vehicles as part of the A2GO deployment. 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 service area that connects Kerrytown, the University of Michigan campus and the State Street corridor. To use A2GO, the free May Mobility app will be available closer to the launch date.
“This deployment demonstrates the collaboration happening in Michigan across public and private sectors that is driving impactful transportation solutions for individuals and creating an environment where companies like May Mobility can find long-term growth and success,” said Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer for the state of Michigan. “A2GO combines Michigan’s opportunistic approach to the advancement of new mobility technology with our commitment to improving the quality of life for people across the state and we are excited to help bring this innovative shuttle service from May Mobility to Ann Arbor.”
A2GO is May Mobility’s eighth shuttle deployment since the company began operations. May Mobility is currently operating shuttles in Grand Rapids, Mich., Arlington, Texas, and Hiroshima, Japan, and will be launching in Indianapolis, Ind. at the beginning of June.
The A2GO service requires the support of the community and strategic partners with common goals of making equitable and sustainable public transportation available. This unique service demonstrates how the mobility landscape is evolving, with partners representing transportation, safety, land use, and economic development. A primary example of how mobility can impact economic development and land use is 4M, Ann Arbor’s first co-living townhomes that offer co-working and mobility solutions to their members.
“4M invested in this important partnership because we believe new mobility solutions, especially those that provide the opportunity for transportation equity, are critically important for next generation community building and sustainability,” said Margaret Poscher, 4M Managing Partner.
Leveraging AV transportation solutions in programs such as A2GO will allow for the further refinement of the technology and lead to greater adoption by the public.
“Automated vehicle technology has great potential,” said Greg McGuire, associate director, Mcity at the University of Michigan. “We demonstrated that with the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research project that wrapped up in 2019. Ultimately, however, the technology must be proven as the foundation for a valuable transportation service. A2GO takes Mcity down a path from academic research into a more public arena. We’re moving out of the lab into the living lab, if you will. And we’ll measure results in a way that more realistically reflects the potential of AV services to integrate smoothly with existing public transit systems, and make transportation more accessible to more people.”
This project also engages !important Safety, a Montreal-based company that opened their US Headquarters at Ann Arbor SPARK in 2019. This project provides an opportunity to advance development of their pedestrian safety technology, which communicates with nearby AV’s to prevent collisions.
“Ann Arbor proves once again that it is a powerhouse for innovation with its mobility initiative known as A2GO, and !important is proud to be a part of it,” said Bastien Beauchamp, CEO of !important. “The city’s A2GO initiative brings safety to the highest level possible by integrating with our free, smartphone safety app for the people of Ann Arbor.”
The A2GO service is another example of Ann Arbor SPARK’s work in furthering the community’s place as a mobility leader.
“Connecting companies like May Mobility and !Important Safety is a way SPARK’s work advances our economy, ensuring that the technology our futures demands is being developed here in the Ann Arbor region,” said Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO. “The power of partnerships is evident in May Mobility and !Important Safety working together to improve the safety of autonomous vehicles, which is critical to ensuring pedestrian safety and consumer adoption of this emerging technology. It’s exciting that work being developed and tested in Ann Arbor has potential global impact.”
About May Mobility
May Mobility is a leader in autonomous vehicle technology development and deployment. With more than 270,000 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 start-ups 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.