Monday, 01 October 2018 16:19

Autonomous Mobility Initiative Created To Test Grand Rapids, MI, Readiness


 “Across the U.S., cities are seeking cost-effective, safe and reliable transportation services that will improve congestion and convert cities into more livable and green spaces. Self-driving shuttles are a great solution,” said Edwin Olson, founder and CEO of May Mobility. “As we strive to make transportation that is more accessible and convenient, we’re thrilled to be working with the city of Grand Rapids and partners to accelerate a path toward a future where the people of Grand Rapids can drive less and live more.”


Unlike any autonomous project of its kind, the Grand Rapids Autonomous Mobility Initiative will achieve in months the type of systems integrations and learnings that what would normally take years. Fleet operations for the May Mobility vehicles will be housed at Rockford Construction’s West Side offices within Circuit West, an area that boasts an innovative electric generation and distribution system. This will also create a direct local connection between the vehicles and the community. The coalition will host conversations with community stakeholders to thoughtfully and intentionally address accessibility of the vehicles.


“May Mobility’s technology is changing how we drive, how we navigate, how we get around. People are an integral component of this equation, and the initiative can provide context for the ways autonomous technology integrates with our essential community systems, including employment, health care, housing, entertainment and retail,” said Mike Morin, principal of Start Garden and Seamless. “Unlike any other arrangement of its kind, our public-private coalition will test and inform safe, effective and convenient autonomous public transportation and prepare it to be deployed in other parts of our world.”


The Grand Rapids Autonomous Mobility Initiative will focus on three areas during its operation:


Feasibility: Little research has been done on the impact of mobility on our cities, yet every change in transport technology has transformed them. The autonomous vehicle initiative is designed to gain insight and understand how it impacts existing urban structures.


Accessibility: Address how autonomous vehicles improve or impact mobility for the elderly and people with disabilities and explore solutions around design of interiors and the urban environment to facilitate accessibility.


Community: Prepare the local community and neighborhoods for the effects of autonomous mobility. This is a priority for the initiative and will include open sessions for community stakeholders for community-envisioning, goal-setting, plan-making and recommendation-making for public investments.


The coalition’s approach will include partnering with developers, urban planners, accessibility experts and community stakeholders to understand their needs and design solutions that will build trust and capability with the autonomous technology created by May Mobility.

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