YPSILANTI, MI / May 1st, 2024

The Detroit Automated Driving Systems (ADS) shuttle pilot has entered a new stage of safety testing at the American Center for Mobility (ACM). Since the beginning of March 2024, ACM has launched a month-long safety testing program with May Mobility, a leader in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology. ACM has been conducting rigorous testing to ensure the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the ADS shuttle service, which will use May Mobility’s AVs, equipped with the company’s state-of-the-art Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) technology. A comprehensive evaluation process is key to achieving this goal.

In 2019, The City of Detroit was awarded a $7.5M USDOT grant to demonstrate Automated Driving Systems (ADS) with a focus on safety, data collection, and collaboration. The pilot project is being led by City of Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation and members of the Michigan Mobility Collaborative (MMC), a public-private partnership developed to support the mission of developing mobility solutions for older adults and people with disabilities.

Meet the Michigan Mobility Collaborative (MMC)

The MMC was formed to test and deploy safe and scalable approaches to automated mobility in Michigan. It is composed of mobility leaders in Michigan dedicated to shaping the future of transportation automation.

MMC members include:

  • City of Detroit
  • The American Center of Mobility
  • Deloitte
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Knight Foundation
  • Mcity at the University of Michigan
  • Michigan Department of Transportation
  • University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)
  • Wayne State University

The MMC will bring comprehensive technical support toward advancing the project’s three fundamental pillars: safety, data, and collaboration.

Future engagement activities include surveys, events, interviews, and focus groups, and will be coordinated with the MMC engagement schedule and will continue through 2025. Program updates and engagement information is available at:  https://bit.ly/DetroitAccessibili-D

The pilot’s primary goal is to provide convenient transportation for Detroiters aged 62 and older and/or those living with disabilities, facilitating trips to various destinations such as stores, doctor appointments, work, or recreational and leisure activities.     Importantly, the service will be provided free of charge to eligible riders. With the approval of a $2.4 million contract between the Office of Mobility Innovation and May Mobility last July, significant strides have been made in advancing the Detroit ADS shuttle pilot. This partnership has ushered in a new era of innovation, with rigorous safety testing initiatives happening in sequence at Mcity and ACM.

  “ACM’s comprehensive testing & evaluation process ensures that every aspect of the ADS shuttle’s performance is thoroughly evaluated under the lens of a replicated real-life deployment scenarios,” says Reuben Sarkar, President and CEO of American Center for Mobility, “ACMs 500-acre state-of-the-art testing facility stands as the ideal location for designing, conducting, and evaluating such critical requirements.”

ACM’s controlled yet close-to-real-life pragmatic test approach is happening in sequence with the Mcity Safety Assessment Program which comprises a two-part protocol: a Driver’s License Test to assess basic competence in ordinary driving scenarios, and a Driving Intelligence Test to challenge AV software with a diverse set of scenarios representing those that most often result in crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Mcity’s testing was initiated in November.

While operating May Mobility’s autonomous vehicle, the American Center for Mobility (ACM) is using various innovative tools and infrastructure to ensure thorough testing. With a focus on safety and realism, ACM adheres to Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) standards, incorporating a newly painted bike lane into its testing environment. Employing state-of-the-art robotic platforms and soft pedestrian targets, ACM is equipped to create genuine scenarios encountered in urban settings like Detroit. ACM team even embarked on a journey to Detroit, seeking an up-close examination of real-world environments crucial for ensuring the accuracy of their testing environment and process.

By immersing themselves in the city’s streets, ACM aimed to replicate authentic scenarios encountered in everyday driving experiences. Whether it is navigating around obstacles like a stray trash can obstructing the road, responding to unexpected events like a car reversing out of a driveway, sharing roadways with bicyclist and pedestrians or AV’s reaction to traffic lights phase and timing, ACM studied and replicated these situations. By incorporating such unpredictable environments into their testing, ACM has created a testing environment that mimics real-world driving, contributing to the advancement of autonomous vehicle technology.

“Safety is paramount to the American Center for Mobility in our pursuit of testing automated vehicles,” said Dr. Sushanta Das, Technical Director at American Center for Mobility. “We are committed to creating an environment that closely mirrors real-world conditions. By prioritizing safety, we strive to instill confidence in our testing processes and contribute to the development of autonomous vehicle technology that meets the highest standards of reliability and effectiveness.”

The Detroit Automated Driving System (ADS) pilot shuttles are expected to be deployed in Detroit this summer.

About the City of Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation (OMI):

The Office of Mobility Innovation (OMI) exists to help the City of Detroit navigate the rapidly changing transportation and mobility industries. Transportation and mobility are essential for both people and businesses and Detroit’s automotive heritage provides an unparalleled opportunity to work with industry to innovate and define their future.

OMI will lead mobility advancement efforts on behalf of the City of Detroit and collaborate with industry, academia, philanthropy, and local, state and federal government. By centering residents in every step of the process, OMI is focused on leveraging mobility as a pathway to opportunity in Detroit.

For additional information about OMI, please visit https://detroitmi.gov/government/mayors-office/office-mobility-innovation or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram

About American Center for Mobility

ACM is a global development center that transforms the way industries advance safe, sustainable, and secure mobility technologies. Located in Southeast Michigan on over 500-acres at the historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti. ACM offers: an Advanced Mobility Proving Ground with test environments featuring specialized infrastructure, equipment, facilities, and resources; An innovation and technology campus with an industrial tech park for the co-location of mobility companies; Event and demonstration areas for showcasing mobility technologies and convening industry activities. ACM is open to private industry, start-ups, government, standards bodies, and academia.
For more information about ACM, visit acmwillowrun.org.

About May Mobility

May Mobility develops autonomous vehicle (AV) technology and deploys fleets of vehicles to municipal and business customers. Its Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) system is at the core of its mission to help make cities safer, greener, and more accessible. MPDM’s proven track record has delivered more than 350,000 autonomy-enabled rides to date in public transit applications across the U.S. and Japan. With key strategic partnerships including some of the world’s most innovative automotive and transportation companies, such as Toyota Motor Corporation and NTT, May Mobility aims to achieve the highest standard in rider safety, sustainability and transportation equity. For more information, visit www.maymobility.com.