Via announce partnership with May Mobility to bring driverless cars to Texas
The two transport firms have teamed up in a bid to launch an all-in-one transit service for passengers with accessibility needs, starting with a pilot in Arlington and the University of Texas.
Via and May Mobility say they will look to introduce autonomous shuttles in Arlington and the University of Texas. Credit: Via
May Mobility, which specialises in fixed-route autonomous vehicle technology, has announced a partnership with Via as it expands its shuttle operations to new cities in 2021.
May Mobility and Via will launch what they say is a first-of-its-kind autonomous vehicle platform that integrates on-demand shared rides, public transportation, and transit options for passengers with accessibility needs all as part of one complete service offering.
May Mobility will adopt Via’s autonomous fleet platform to power booking, routing, passenger and vehicle assignment and identification, customer experience, and fleet management as part of their new transit solution for future autonomous vehicle deployments.
The long-term strategy involves integrating Via’s technology into May Mobility’s existing platform for autonomous vehicles and will support May Mobility with the launch of complex and flexible use cases for self-driving vehicles, including on-demand, dynamically-routed shared transit services.
In order for self-driving vehicles to reach their full potential as part of large-scale transit networks, Via believes they must be on-demand, optimally routed, and shared by multiple passengers. According to the company, efficient utilisation of self-driving vehicles will relieve congestion, improve environmental sustainability, and reduce operating costs for transit providers, while expanding transportation options for consumers.
May Mobility and Via say they are both looking to provide a full-scale solutions as municipalities, public transit authorities, universities, hospitals, and organisations seek to understand how autonomous vehicle transit systems can strengthen transit and inclusive mobility in communities across the United States.
“Partnering with Via is the natural next step for May Mobility as we work to integrate our shuttle operations with existing public transportation in more cities in 2021,” said Edwin Olson, founder and CEO of May Mobility. “Offering on-demand service will help us make progress toward our vision of a world where self-driving systems increase the reliability of transportation, make roads safer and encourage better land use in order to foster more green, vibrant and liveable spaces.”
“Our partnership with May Mobility is the next step in Via’s vision to use technology to expand access to public transit across the globe,” said Via CEO and co-founder Daniel Ramot. “When autonomous vehicles are efficiently shared and on-demand, they are a solution that municipalities can use to strengthen and complement their existing transit networks, ushering in a new generation of flexible mobility offerings.”
The partners will introduce their first service available to the public in Arlington, Texas, in partnership with the City of Arlington and University of Texas at Arlington.
Supported by a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Integrated Mobility Innovation Program to the City of Arlington, the partners say they will incorporate autonomous vehicles into Via’s existing on-demand public transit service in the city.
The one-year pilot program, called Arlington RAPID (Rideshare, Automation, and Payment Integration Demonstration), is expected to launch for the public in March 2021. The pilot will serve downtown Arlington and the University of Texas at Arlington campus, providing students and faculty with free rides during the test phase, all integrated into the same Via app currently used for on-demand public transit.