Rigorous cleaning procedures in place to ensure passenger safety
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – May Mobility and the City of Grand Rapids today announced the relaunch of autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle service starting Aug. 31.
The free shuttles – launched in July 2019 – were operating as part of the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (AVGR) until March 2020 when service was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since that time, the May Mobility team, with help from its AVGR partners, has been working to modify the interior of the shuttles and implement stringent cleaning procedures to ensure a safe rider experience. The following safety and cleaning measures have been implemented:
“I am so proud of the May Mobility team for coming together with our partners to find the right combination of cleaning technologies to get the shuttles back in service in Grand Rapids – this is a perfect example of how nimble and innovative we can be as a company,” said Edwin Olson, founder and CEO of May Mobility. “The Grand Rapids shuttle program also demonstrates our company mission of delivering safe, efficient transportation options that will ultimately improve cities.”
Grand Rapids is eager to welcome back autonomous vehicles, said Josh Naramore, director of the City’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department.
“We are pleased to return AVGR to the streets in a safe and responsive way,” Naramore said. “The AVGR pilot continues to be an innovative and popular option for travelers while advancing autonomous vehicle technology in Grand Rapids.”
AVGR operates on the 3.2-mile existing DASH West bus route, which provides access to downtown and the city’s West Side and Heartside business districts. The route includes 20 stops, 30 traffic lights and 12 turns, including three left turns. All autonomous vehicles have an attendant onboard when they are on Grand Rapids streets. As a free, commuter-driven service, DASH West provides connectivity to more than 10 City-owned parking lots and points of interest that include museums, entertainment venues and other hot spots.
“In Michigan, resiliency and innovation is in our DNA, and it’s never been more apparent than during this global pandemic,” said Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer of the State of Michigan. “Ensuring transportation options are not only safe but also meet the biohealth concerns of Michigan residents is a massive undertaking. We are so grateful to May Mobility for their continued dedication to making sure that accessible and inclusive transportation options exist for everyone in our communities.”
The coalition supporting AVGR, led by Seamless, a Grand Rapids based edge innovation platform, includes May Mobility, Consumers Energy, Faurecia, Gentex, Rockford Construction,and Steelcase and public organizations that include the City of Grand Rapids, PlanetM and Start Garden.
Fleet operations for the May Mobility vehicles are housed and charged in the parking garage connected to the headquarters of Rockford Construction, which contains the necessary EV charging equipment and parking spaces to clean, maintain and service the technology on the vehicles.
About May Mobility
May Mobility is unlocking a better life today through self-driving transportation. We deliver solutions that work in today’s communities to accelerate the path toward a future where people can drive less and live more. The company’s goal is to realize a world where self-driving systems increase the reliability of transportation, make the roads much safer, and encourage better land use in order to foster more green, vibrant, and livable spaces. For more information, visit maymobility.com.
About the City of Grand Rapids
The City of Grand Rapids provides a full range of services to residents, students and visitors. Grand Rapids is a diverse and culturally rich community of nearly 200,000 residents located along the banks of the Grand River, 30 miles east of Lake Michigan. It is the second-largest city in Michigan and serves as the county seat of Kent County and the economic engine for the western part of the state. Grand Rapids has been recognized nationally for its quality of life and named one of the 25 best places to live in the U.S. It also has been touted among the best cities to start a career, raise a family and retire, among others. Stay connected with City news, events and information at: grandrapidsmi.us, facebook.com/CityofGrandRapids, twitter.com/CityGrandRapids and instagram.com/citygrandrapids.
Seamless is an edge innovation platform in Grand Rapids, MI. With a hand-selected consortium of enterprise partners and scouts around the world finding cross-sector problem-solving global innovations, Seamless works to de-risk innovation and build the future with leading-edge startups. Learn more at https://www.seamlessiot.com/.
PlanetM is a partnership of mobility organizations, communities, educational institutions, research and development, and government agencies working together to develop and deploy the mobility technologies driving the future. Available to any mobility-focused company or investor, PlanetM is a no-cost, concierge service that connects startups, businesses and communities to Michigan’s mobility ecosystem — the people, places and resources dedicated to the evolution of transportation mobility. Michigan has always been the leader of the automotive industry, and as transportation technologies continue to evolve in amazing ways, Michigan continues to lead the way. Visit PlanetM.com to learn more.