September 29, 2023
Autonomous driving tech company May Mobility has moved a step closer to going fully driverless.
The firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has announced a significant software update that it says will lay the foundation for it to progress to rider-only operations by the end of 2023.
The improved tech is claimed to provide “major performance improvements” to May Mobility’s autonomous vehicles (AVs), with a particular focus on making rides more comfortable for passengers.
The company runs a fleet of Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicles fitted with its radar, lidar and cameras, plus its proprietary Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) system, at several diverse locations across the United States.
Generally, it aims to provide more transportation options via its AVs for cities and municipalities with inadequate public transit.
Among the enhancements the latest update delivers are an improvement in the quality of the autonomous drive, to make it even smoother than at present, particularly in crowded environments.
There will also be more use of arterial roads, to make trips more efficient, as well as faster routing thanks to new capabilities, such as improved unprotected turns.
Robust teleoperation assistance from human monitors is promised in challenging or unexpected scenarios, and the AVs are also claimed to have a greater ability to track moving objects at longer distances.
“We continue to make huge strides in the advancement of our technology, and this release is the next step on our path toward rider-only service,” said Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility.
“These advancements further our commitment to providing a commercially viable service that is best situated to serve the communities where we operate.”
The company has announced several deployments in recent months as it seeks out new locations and different use cases for its Level 4 AVs.
In April, it confirmed plans to launch a first-of-its-kind on-demand public transit service for over 55s at a retirement community in Sun City, Arizona.
Four months later, in August, it announced it had agreed to a deal with the city council in Detroit, Michigan, to assist locals aged over 65 or with disabilities with transportation, as part of the Detroit Automated Driving Systems Shuttle program.
And earlier in September, it emerged that the company received regulatory approval to operate in the town of Martinez in the Bay Area, California, where its AVs will transport locals to medical appointments.
In each of these cases, though, the autonomous shuttles are accompanied by an on-board human supervisor. According to the company, the new update will keep it on schedule to launch its first driverless service by the end of this year.
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