Autonomous shuttle service to transport senior citizens to Detroit hospital

An on-board safety operator oversees the vehicle operations

August 24, 2020
Autonomous shuttle service to transport senior citizens to Detroit hospital
Image: Navya

A self-driving, accessible, paratransit shuttle is being deployed in Detroit to transport senior citizens and the underserved to and from appointments and other needs at a local hospital.

The deployment is a partnership between Navya, NextEnergy, Bestmile, Flagstar Bank, IXR Mobility, and AARP, as well as DTE Energy, and the State of Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification PlanetM. The project aims to enhance accessibility for residents of two communities through the use of a self-driving shuttle featuring an ADA compliant wheelchair ramp.

With these integrations, Navya says it expects to solve the problem many residents of these communities face attempting to secure reliable transportation to and from doctor’s appointments and other essential or critical needs.

This operation is the result of a 2019 PlanetM Mobility Grant awarded to Navya to deploy an automated, accessible paratransit shuttle in the city of Detroit

"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," Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer for the State of Michigan, said in a statement.

Starting mid-July 2020, a Navya Autonom Shuttle commenced operations 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 is present for safety purposes during this operation, including educating passengers on the shuttle’s technology and assisting passengers with boarding and exiting the shuttle



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