May Mobility to test autonomous vehicles in Detroit in October

 

From October 9 to 13, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based May Mobility Inc., which is a startup that became incorporated in January of this year, will operate a pilot program using autonomous vehicles to shuttle Bedrock LLC employees in downtown Detroit to and from a parking structure.

A total of 15 hours of testing will be conducted, as the service will be provided to staff from 7 to 10 p.m.

Two Polaris Industries Inc.-manufactured electric vehicles, which will be manned during testing, will be used during the program, and according to May Mobility CEO Edwin Olson, the vehicles have six doors for six seats.

This pilot program will be the sixth major autonomous vehicle project for the May Mobility team, which currently stands at 15 members.

“This is a huge opportunity for us, and we are really committed to making sure it goes extremely well,” Olson says via Crain’s Detroit Business.

“The whole company is focused on this. There are a lot of internal resources dedicated to this project.”

Bedrock LLC, which is a real estate firm based in downtown Detroit, is owned by Dan Gilbert, who also owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

During an event at the Technology in Motion conference at Cobo Center on Wednesday, September 6, Gilbert announced the plan for the real estate firm’s staff to take part in the pilot program.

“We're taking a square block here and testing a couple of vehicles that are ready to go,” Gilbert said during the event.

Olson says that Gilbert’s transportation team is looking for a “higher level of transportation that is green and safe for staff.”

Over the next six months, May Mobility plans to hire around a dozen more engineers at its 70,000-square-foot headquarters on the south side of Ann Arbor.

Olson, who is currently on leave from the University of Michigan as an associate professor of computer science, is excited about the pool of talent that is in the vicinity of the company.

“We're excited about hiring, really excited about the talent base that exists in Southeastern Michigan,” Olson says.

“We think it's the best place to start a startup company, with the University of Michigan nearby and working with the existing supplier base as we put our vehicles on the road.”