A self-driving, paratransit shuttle in Detroit is being deployed to transport senior citizens and people with disabilities to and from appointments and other needs at a local hospital.
The deployment, a partnership between Navya, NextEnergy, Bestmile, Flagstar Bank, IXR Mobility, and AARP, as well as DTE, and Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification PlanetM – aims to enhance accessibility for residents of communities through the use of the self-driving shuttle featuring an ADA compliant wheelchair ramp. With these integrations, the service expects to solve the problem many residents of each community face attempting to secure reliable transportation to and from appointments and other essential or critical needs.
“We have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to leverage our state’s robust mobility ecosystem and resources to ensure future transportation solutions better serve our communities,” said Trevor Pawl, the state of Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer. “Through our state’s highly collaborative environment between our public and private sectors, we’re able to utilize next-generation technologies to create a future that prioritizes safer, more inclusive mobility services for residents that live, work and play in our communities, including access to senior citizens and underserved individuals. We’re proud to work together with our partners like Navya in supporting mobility-related projects that have a meaningful impact and create a better quality of life for our residents.”
“Navya is thrilled to work with our partners at NextEnergy, PlanetM, and more to provide a form of increased transport inclusion to two of Detroit’s historic communities,” said Jérôme Rigaud, Chief Operating Officer of Navya Corporation. “This route and those it strives to aid the most, coupled with the accessible nature of the service that features an ADA compliant wheelchair ramp manufactured by market leader BraunAbility, are an ideal foundation to highlight how self-driving vehicles can provide an on-demand solution to our transportation needs that never deviates from its rules.”
Starting mid-August 2020, the shuttle commenced operating along a pre-programmed 1.31-mile route, with an on-board safety operator overseeing the vehicle, provided by IXR Mobility. While the shuttle strives to perform to its fullest capability of autonomy, the on-board attendant serves a multitude of safety purposes during this operation that make safety first priority, including educating passengers on the shuttle’s technology and assisting passengers with boarding and egressing.
The team has also undertaken measures to increase safety and sanitation of the shuttle during the COVID-19 pandemic. Passengers and operators are required to wear masks and invited to social distance by using and respecting the designated seating areas. Seats and surfaces are sanitized between each trip, with a touch-less hand sanitizer dispenser on board along with anti-bacterial, viral, and alcohol-based wipes available.