A2GO AUTONOMOUS SHUTTLE SERVICE LAUNCHES IN ANN ARBOR ON OCTOBER 11

Free on-demand service connects Kerrytown, UM campus and State Street corridor

ANN ARBOR, Mich.May Mobility, Mcity and Ann Arbor SPARK today inaugurated the launch of A2GO, a new autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle service serving the Ann Arbor community. The free shuttle service is available to the public beginning Monday, 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,  4MOffice of Future Mobility and Electrification and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

As part of the A2GO service, May Mobility will operate a fleet of five autonomous, shared, on-demand vehicles. 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 2.64 square-mile service area connecting Kerrytown with Downtown, the University of Michigan’s Central and South campuses, Pulse Campus and the State Street corridor. The free service is available Monday through Friday from 8 am – 8 pm and riders will access the service via the May Mobility app, which is available through the Apple App store and Google Play.

“From the talented workforce to the proximity of strong private and municipal partnerships, Ann Arbor has played a critical role in May Mobility’s success,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “We are proud to bring our autonomous shuttle service to not just our hometown, but the place where our technology was born.”

Since originally announcing service in Ann Arbor, May Mobility has hired four full-time employees and will hire up to 20 autonomous vehicle operators to support the full A2GO deployment, with several open positions currently hiring. On October 12, 2021, May Mobility will host an official launch event in Ann Arbor offering demonstrations of its autonomous technology.

A2GO is May Mobility’s eighth shuttle deployment since the company began operations. May Mobility is currently operating shuttles in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Arlington, Texas, Hiroshima, Japan, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

“The deployment of A2GO exemplifies Michigan’s leadership and innovation in public-private partnerships to facilitate long lasting change within our mobility ecosystem,” said Trevor Pawl, Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer. “We are excited to see the results of this pilot in the Ann Arbor community, as well as the next-generation solutions the team at May Mobility continues to bring to the state of Michigan.”

In developing A2GO, May Mobility worked with community and strategic partners who shared the company’s vision for equitable and sustainable public transportation solutions.

“Mcity is excited to be a partner in bringing A2GO to Ann Arbor,” said Greg McGuire, Associate Director at Mcity. “If we want to build the safer, greener, more accessible world we’re all striving for, learning by doing is essential. A2GO takes Mcity from an academic lab to a living lab, and will help us learn what we should be thinking about next.”

The A2GO service demonstrates how communities can work together to incorporate transportation, safety, land use, and economic development into the mobility landscape. One of the community partners involved in A2GO is 4M, Ann Arbor’s first co-living townhomes that offer co-working and mobility solutions to their members. A2GO’s site operations are located at 4M’s site, including garage parking for May Mobility’s autonomous shuttles, material storage and offices for onsite staff that maintain daily operations, train autonomous vehicle operators (AVOs) and manage rider and AVO communications.

“Our partnership with May Mobility and the other A2GO team members is critical to our evaluation of future value-based housing and lifestyle solutions and our planning for upcoming real estate projects and developments,” said Margaret Poscher, CEO at Prentice4M.

For !important Safety Technologies, a Montreal-based company with their US Headquarters in Ann Arbor, A2GO provides an opportunity to further advance their pedestrian safety technology, which communicates with nearby AVs to prevent collisions.

“!important is pleased to join the A2GO project as an opportunity to innovate with the population of Ann Arbor,” said Bastien Beauchamp, CEO of !important Safety Technologies. “For the first time, the public will have a direct input in the detection from an autonomous vehicle via our Free Mobile App. The anonymous data collected will help the city identify the weak and less safe zones in order to better plan infrastructures.”

The A2GO service also demonstrated the important role that Ann Arbor SPARK plays in advancing mobility in Ann Arbor and ensuring the community continues to be seen as a leader in the testing and adoption of AV technologies.

“Ann Arbor SPARK’s mission is to identify what businesses in our community need to grow, and with May Mobility, it was access to an urban living lab where it could test, advance, and deploy its technology,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO, Ann Arbor SPARK. “It’s exciting to see A2GO launch and know that autonomous vehicle innovation isn’t just being developed here, but also enthusiastically welcomed as part of our region’s mobility infrastructure. Having leading edge technology on the streets in Ann Arbor is a signal that companies pushing towards what’s next will push forward here.”

 

About May Mobility

May Mobility is a leader in autonomous vehicle technology development and deployment. With more than 285,000 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.

 

About Mcity 

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.

 

About 4M

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.

 

May Mobility: Craig Daitch, Telemetry Public Relations, (248) 880-4403 [email protected]
Prentice4M: Eric Zughaib, [email protected]

MEDC: Otie McKinley, Media and Communications Manager, [email protected]

Ann Arbor SPARK: Jenn Cornell Queen, Senior Vice President, [email protected]

Mcity, University of Michigan: Susan Carney, Communications Director, (734) 223-6531, [email protected]

!important Safety Technologies: Bastien Beauchamp, CEO, (855) 231-3783, [email protected]

Getting to know May Mobility CEO Edwin Olson

For someone who built robots throughout undergrad, it never occurred to May Mobility CEO Edwin Olson that he could make a career out of robotics. After two false starts as a graduate student however, Olson took to the field, finding himself out on a boat in the Mediterranean helping with an autonomous submarine and then in the California desert working on MIT’s autonomous car for the DARPA Urban Challenge. 

Image of Edwin Olson with an autonomous submarine in 2002

Edwin Olson with the Bluefin Odyssey III autonomous submarine in 2002.

“On the DARPA Urban Challenge competition day, we hit the ‘go’ button and the car drove off into the distance, first disappearing around a corner, then its audible beeper fading away. Six nervous hours had passed when I heard the faintest whisper of our car’s beeper, growing louder and louder. It was an amazing feeling to hear the sound of that beeper that signaled our car had completed its mission and was almost home. I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.”

Edwin Olson graduated with his PhD from MIT in 2008 and joined the faculty at the University of Michigan to continue his work on autonomous vehicles. While at the University of Michigan, he led the winning team in the 2010 Mobile Autonomous Ground-robotic International Competition (MAGIC) by developing a team of 14 robots that semi-autonomously explored and mapped a large-scale urban environment.

The winning team of semi-autonomous robots from the 2010 MAGIC competition.

He also worked with Ford on their autonomous vehicles before joining Toyota Research Institute as a co-director of autonomous driving.

While there were a number of research opportunities in robotics, the culmination of years spent in research left Edwin driven to develop autonomous technologies so they could solve real world problems.   

“I’ve always been less interested in proofs of concept and more interested in solving real-world problems,” shared Edwin. “I looked around and saw all these problem domains where robots were a solution to real problems that are important to society, and that’s what led to May Mobility. How do we take the technology that we have into the world and actually generate impact and improve people’s lives with it?”

Bringing Technology with Impact to May Mobility

With transportation inequity a noted and growing issue in the United States, Edwin co-founded May Mobility in 2017, focused on developing autonomous solutions that would have an immediate impact on solving the issue in heavily affected cities.

“Technology without impact is pointless,” said Edwin. “Yes, it’s interesting to make and operate a driverless vehicle. But what’s even more interesting is to use that technology to provide a service that reduces congestion, makes better use of space and over time, can change the way we live in cities with green spaces and affordable housing in place of traffic jams and parking lots.”

That clarity of mission has allowed May to focus on the transportation solutions needed today rather than trying to predict what might be possible years or decades down the road. It keeps the company driven to innovate solutions that will help people get to and from school, to the grocery store, to doctors appointments and jobs. 

Edwin Olson at the Together in Motion Indianapolis launch event in June of 2021. To read more about Together in Motion visit our webpage.

In order to have the most immediate impact, May prioritizes communities with the greatest transportation inequities and focuses on first and last mile routes. By collaborating with community and corporate partners, May creates autonomous solutions unique to each market.  

“Very poor equity exists in transportation, and it’s not for lack of trying on the community or city level,” said Edwin. “Many communities don’t have the tools they need to provide equitable and accessible transportation. That’s where May Mobility comes in – we bring new tools to the table that help them deliver transportation solutions that transform people’s lives.”

From Transactions to Transformations

After four years and more than 275,000 revenue-generating rides, what gets Edwin the most excited is hearing how May’s technologies have translated into real world changes for its riders. And despite leading a team of 200 May employees in 7 cities around the world, he remains active in solving problems and identifying mobility solutions that help transform cities.

“When you hear these stories about two-plus hour commutes being replaced with more work, more time with family or simply more time to rest, you realize we’re doing so much more than simply moving people to jobs, medical care or grocery stores. We’re expanding access to more and better opportunities that improve the daily lives, health, financial security and ultimately happiness of our riders,” said Edwin. “That’s the kind of impact that I get really excited about: hearing how what we are doing translates into better lives for everyday people.”