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Mobility Innovation

May Mobility, in partnership with the City of Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation (OMI) and the Michigan Mobility Collaborative (MMC), has introduced the Accessibili-D autonomous shuttle service as part of the Detroit Automated Driving Systems (ADS) pilot. This pioneering initiative seeks to improve transportation accessibility for Detroit residents with disabilities and those aged 62 and older.

Revolutionizing Transportation in Detroit

The Accessibili-D service officially commenced on June 20, 2024, and is set to operate until 2026. The pilot introduces three autonomous vehicles (AVs), including two that are wheelchair-accessible, to facilitate access to essential destinations such as healthcare facilities, shopping centers, workplaces, and social and recreational venues. Covering an 11-square-mile area of downtown Detroit with 68 designated stops, the service is available free of charge to selected residents.

Operational hours for Accessibili-D are Monday and Wednesday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm, and weekends from 8 am to 1 pm. Interested individuals can express their interest through an application form, and once enrolled, they can book rides using the Accessibili-D app, powered by Via, or by calling (734) 209-3408.

Empowering the Community

Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility, highlighted the impact of this initiative: “Many Detroiters face significant challenges in getting around due to the costs associated with car ownership or mobility issues related to age or disabilities. We’re excited to demonstrate how autonomous technology can address these challenges in Detroit, our largest service area to date.”

The initiative was bolstered by a $2.4 million contract approved by the Detroit City Council in July 2023, securing funding for the Accessibili-D service. May Mobility and MMC have conducted extensive outreach programs to educate potential riders about the AVs and identify key locations in downtown Detroit that will best serve the community. Feedback from these outreach efforts has informed plans to expand the service zone, adding more stops and vehicles in the coming months.

Ensuring Safety and Efficiency

To ensure the safety and reliability of the Accessibili-D service, May Mobility partnered with the University of Michigan’s Mcity and the American Center for Mobility (ACM) for comprehensive testing. These tests included the Mcity Safety Assessment Program and a rigorous testing process developed by ACM, simulating real-world urban scenarios.

The AVs utilized in the pilot are equipped with multi-policy decision-making (MPDM) technology, which allows the vehicles to navigate city streets by simulating thousands of potential scenarios per second. This cutting-edge technology is complemented by lidar, radar, and cameras that provide a 360° view, ensuring safe and efficient travel for all passengers.

A Milestone for Detroit’s Mobility Innovation

Tim Slusser, chief of the Office of Mobility Innovation at the City of Detroit, expressed his enthusiasm for the new service: “Launching the Accessibili-D autonomous shuttle service is a significant step toward enhancing mobility for our older residents and those with disabilities. This free, innovative service will provide safe and efficient transportation, greatly improving access to essential services for residents who have faced difficulties navigating their needs in the city.”

The Detroit ADS pilot represents May Mobility’s 14th deployment, joining other operations in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Grand Rapids, Minnesota; Miami, Florida; Arlington, Texas; and Sun City, Arizona. This pilot underscores the potential of autonomous technology to address transportation challenges and enhance the quality of life for underserved communities.

Future Prospects

As the Accessibili-D pilot progresses, May Mobility and its partners are committed to continuously refining and expanding the service based on user feedback and evolving community needs. The successful implementation of this pilot could serve as a model for broader adoption of autonomous technology in urban environments, demonstrating its value in creating inclusive and accessible transportation solutions.

For more information on the Accessibili-D service, including enrollment and ride booking details, visit the official website or contact the service hotline at (734) 209-3408.

By providing Detroit residents with an innovative, free transportation option, the Accessibili-D pilot aims to significantly enhance mobility and accessibility, paving the way for a more inclusive future.

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