Providence will get its first publicly available self-driving shuttle, report says

May Mobility is a self-driving vehicle startup that’s taking a more measured approach to autonomy, and has already secured three shuttle contracts.


May Mobility

Providence, Rhode Island will be getting its very first self-driving shuttle, thanks to a partnership with a company called May Mobility, according to a report published Tuesday by Automotive News.

The shuttles will be open to the public, seat six and run between Olneyville Square in Providence and an Amtrak station six miles away. The shuttle’s route will have 12 stops, and it will run seven days a week.

Unlike Waymo’s self-driving program in Phoenix, May Mobility’s shuttles all feature a human safety driver. This is likely because, as part of its contract with the city of Providence, May Mobility assumes all responsibility for its shuttles.

May also handles all of the maintenance for the vehicles, making it virtually turn-key for the city, a convenience for which the City of Providence is shelling out $800,000 during its first year of operation. While it’s tough to nail down exact figures, we imagine that would compare favorably to the cost of getting several city buses, paying for their fuel, maintenance and drivers for that time for the same route.

“[Commuters] need the ability to get into the city where their actual job destination is,” said Alisyn Malek, chief operating officer of May Mobility, in a statement. “They can use the May Mobility shuttle to get to their jobs and connect with different bus lines. It shows the role autonomy can play even today. It’s not ready for everything, but even today, we can come in and solve some of these challenges.”

Providence is the third city in which May Mobility will operate. The company’s first contract was with a real estate company in Detroit, and it also has operations in Columbus, Ohio. Grand Rapids, Michigan is supposed to start its May Mobility shuttle service sometime later this summer.

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