Self-driving vehicle developer May Mobility and Bedrock, a real estate firm, have announced a partnership to deploy self-driving vehicles on public streets in Detroit.
The partnership, which the company say is the first commercial deployment of independent autonomous vehicles on public streets in any urban core in America, will see the self-driving electric shuttles operate in downtown Detroit. The vehicles began passenger service on 27 June.
The partnership will see May Mobility provide Bedrock with a fleet of vehicles, which will be used to transport almost 18,000 employees of Quicken Loans and its family of partner companies between their offices, parking sites and other downtown destinations. The programme will start with a one-mile loop in downtown Detroit.
“Detroit is at the forefront of technology and innovation, which is why it makes perfect sense for the first fully-autonomous shuttle route to launch in our city,” said Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner.
“As a company dedicated to advancing mobility for a more livable, walkable and accessible community, Michigan-grown May Mobility made the ideal partner to further this mission,” said Bedrock CEO Jim Ketai.
“These autonomous vehicles will allow us to lead the nation in providing memorable and efficient transportation methods for our residential, office and retail tenants.”
May Mobility’s approach to autonomous transportation is designed to help towns, developers, and business customers by mapping, testing, and adding environmental sensors to routes block-by-block.
The company then deploys its self-driving vehicles among other cars, cyclists, and pedestrians to make them a regular part of everyday life. By doing so, May Mobility gathers data from its vehicles, riders, and partners which it can use to help expand its services.
“Our partnership with Bedrock shows that our self-driving vehicles can help address today’s most difficult transportation problems,” said Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility.
“Our technology allows us to provide fully-managed transportation services that outperform traditional services on wait time, rider satisfaction, and other metrics.”
The company has also opened an office in Detroit to provide full-time operational support for the route and store and charge the self-driving vehicles.