Mcity, a University of Michigan-led public-private partnership to accelerate advanced mobility vehicles and technologies, will launch a driverless shuttle service on U-M's North Campus beginning this fall.
The service will use two fully automated, 15-passenger, all-electric shuttles manufactured by French firm NAVYA to transport students, faculty, and staff on a nonstop two-mile route between the Lurie Engineering Center and the university's North Campus Research Complex on Plymouth Road.
"This first-ever automated shuttle service on campus is a critical research project that will help us understand the challenges and opportunities presented by this type of mobility service and how people interact with it," said Huei Peng, director of Mcity and the Roger L. McCarthy Professor of Mechanical Engineering at U-M. "The shuttles will augment U-M's busy campus bus service to provide another mobility option."
In addition to lidar and GPS, the two NAVYA ARMA shuttles will also be equipped with on-board cameras and Wi-Fi communications to capture data generated during operation.
Mcity will study how passengers react to the vehicle as a way to gauge consumer acceptance of the technology. Exterior cameras will capture the reaction and behavior of other road users, especially bicyclists and pedestrians. Mcity will also track ridership and usage patterns, and survey users about their experience. The data gathered is intended to help researchers understand how to design safer vehicles and how to operate them more efficiently.
The shuttle service will run on U-M roads during business hours to start. There will be no cost to riders, and the two shuttles will cover the route roughly every 10 minutes. Hours of operation and the service area could be increased later if the technology proves effective and consumer acceptance supports expansion.