Via and May Mobility to launch autonomous shuttles in TexasNovember 24, 2020
Car rental service Via and self-driving car developer May Mobility have announced the launch of the Arlington RAPID joint program in Arlington, Texas. As part of the project, the partners will create an autonomous platform combining ridesharing, public transport and transportation for people with disabilities. The official launch of the Arlington RAPID in Texas is slated for March 2021, and in the long term, Via plans to expand trials and deploy unmanned shuttles to other US states, VentureBeat reported.
The partners will combine Via’s fleet of vehicles, navigation systems, applications and support with the new May Mobility shuttles. For existing users of Via services, nothing will change, but a new item will appear in the official application – autonomous shuttles. The program will operate on the principle of transport on demand – ridesharing – in which the user orders a car, and the system automatically prepares the route and picks up fellow travelers.
The first shuttles will serve downtown Arlington and the University of Texas campus. As part of the pilot program, students and university staff will be able to use Via and May Mobility services free of charge.
“The partnership with Via is a natural next step for May Mobility as we plan to expand the integration of shuttle services into existing public transportation in most US cities in 2021. Ridesharing will help us move towards our vision of a world in which autonomous driving systems improve vehicle reliability, make roads safer and encourage sustainable use, ”said May Mobility CEO Edwin Olson.
According to the project representatives, the ride-sharing approach is the most successful solution for autonomous vehicles. Unmanned vehicles will efficiently plan routes, so the service’s customers will not waste much time. And a small number of shuttles, designed for several people, will reduce traffic congestion and reduce operating costs for transport companies.
The pilot program is supported by the Federal Transit Administration of the City of Arlington in the amount of $ 1.7 million. The city authorities also said they are ready to integrate Via and May Mobility systems into the city’s public transit service.
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