In the burgeoning age of autonomous vehicles, the commute for some Detroit-based employees is about to become a lot more exciting and innovative.
Recently, an Ann Arbor startup called May Mobility partnered with Detroit-based real estate firm Bedrock to create the first commercial deployment of independent autonomous vehicles around Detroit’s downtown core.
The partnership will immediately embed self-driving shuttles into the daily fabric of downtown Detroit, and begin transporting passengers Wednesday, June 27.
Under the partnership, May Mobility will provide a fleet of electric vehicles to Bedrock. These vehicles will transport Quicken Loans and its Family of Companies’ nearly 18,000 employees between their offices, parking sites, events and other downtown destinations, beginning with a 1-mile loop connecting the Bricktown Parking Garage to the One Campus Martius and First National Buildings in the heart of 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,” Jay Farner, CEO, Quicken Loans, said in a statement.
May Mobility maps, tests, and adds environmental sensors to routes block-by-block, which delivers a unique approach to autonomous transportation. This helps solve parking, traffic and land management issues for municipalities, developers, and business customers across the U.S.
The vehicles are deployed among other cars, cyclists, pedestrians and more, making self-driving vehicles a normal part of everyday life. As a result, May Mobility gathers invaluable data from vehicles, riders, business and community partners, which is crucial in helping expand services to additional roads and highways in the future.
“Our partnership with Bedrock shows that our self-driving vehicles can help address today’s most difficult transportation problems,” Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility, said in a statement. “Our technology allows us to provide fully-managed transportation services that outperform traditional services on wait time, rider satisfaction, and other metrics. By improving the lives of Bedrock’s employees and tenants, we move closer to our vision that everyone uses May Mobility every day.”
As part of the expansion, May Mobility has opened its first office outside of Ann Arbor at 601 Franklin in Detroit. From this location, May Mobility will provide full-time operational support for the Bedrock Bricktown route, store and charge the shuttles, and coordinate future route expansion.