Answers to your questions about the Mcity Driverless Shuttle.
1. What is the Mcity Driverless Shuttle project?
The Mcity Driverless Shuttle is a research project that will help us understand the challenges and opportunities presented by driverless shuttles and how riders, pedestrians, and other vehicles interact with them. We will use two fully-automated, 11-passenger, all-electric shuttles manufactured by French firm NAVYA to transport students, faculty, and staff on a non-stop two-mile route between the Lurie Engineering Center and the U-M’s North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) on Plymouth Road.
2. Will I be able to ride the shuttle from my dorm room to my classes?
The Mcity Driverless Shuttle may one day augment U-M’s busy campus bus service to provide an on-demand mobility option. At this time, it will operate only on the selected route at fixed intervals.
3. What hours will the shuttle operate?
Expected hours of operation will be Monday–Friday, 9 am–3 pm, weather permitting.
4. Who can ride the Mcity Driverless Shuttle?
The shuttle will be used to transport members of the U-M community, including students, faculty, and staff. Riders may be asked to provide university identification to the safety conductor.
5. What do I have to do to prepare to ride the shuttle?
No special preparation will be needed. Just hop on board and buckle up.
6. What kind of vehicle is the Mcity Driverless Shuttle?
The Mcity Driverless Shuttle project uses the Arma, manufactured by French firm NAVYA. The Arma is an electric, driverless shuttle bus.
7. Is the NAYVA Arma fully automated?
The Arma operates along a prescribed route. It is speed-limited and inclement-weather limited, and can operate without a human being at the controls. But there will be a safety conductor to monitor the operation of the shuttle throughout the duration of the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research project.
8. How does the NAYVA Arma drive itself?
The Arma is equipped with lidar, which uses invisible laser beams to build a view of the surrounding environment, and GPS for localization. The data from these technologies enables the Arma to detect and avoid obstacles as the shuttle travels along a programmed route.
9. Will there be a person on board to oversee the shuttle’s operation?
Yes. A safety conducter will be on the shuttle at all times. The conductor will not drive the vehicle – there is no steering wheel – but will have the ability to manually stop the shuttle if necessary for safety reasons.
10. What route will the shuttle take?
The shuttle will travel between the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) near Plymouth Road and the Lurie Engineering Center on the University of Michigan’s North Campus.
11. How long is the route?
The route is about two miles round-trip, and will take about ten minutes to complete.
12. Will U-M be the first university to use driverless shuttles on campus?
As far as we know, U-M will be the first college campus to deploy a driverless shuttle on public roads to transport students, faculty and staff. The research project will help us learn more about the challenges and opportunities presented by this type of mobility service and how people interact with it.
13. How safe is the NAYVA Arma?
The shuttle’s sensors continuously scan the vehicle’s surroundings, and the vehicle stops when an obstacle is detected in its path. As an added measure, a conductor will be on board during these tests, and can manually stop the shuttle if needed for safety.
14. Will the shuttle be driving along other vehicles on the road?
Yes, the shuttle will share the road with other vehicles.
15. Is the NAYVA being used anywhere else in the world?
Yes. Arma shuttles are on the road in countries all over the world. They’re designed for use at a broad range of sites that need efficient, convenient, and safe first and last mile transportation – places such as airports, city centers, and large campus-like environments.
16. How does the Mcity Driverless Shuttle work with U-M’s bus service?
The shuttles are operated by U-M Transportation, Logistics and Parking, but not as a primary transportation service of the university. At this stage, the shuttle is primarily a research deployment managed by Mcity.
17. What is Mcity?
Mcity is a U-M led public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of connected and automated vehicles to improve traffic safety, conserve energy, and provide transportation options to those who may not have access today. In addition to supporting deployments of automated vehicles like the shuttle, Mcity also funds academic research and operates the Mcity Test Facility for connected and automated vehicles on U-M’s North Campus.
18. Will the shuttle be accessible to persons with disabilities?
Accessibility and the need for inclusiveness is of the utmost importance to the U-M community. The university has developed policies and procedures and created services to assist our community’s persons with disabilities. Among other services, U-M offers robust Paratransit services for students, faculty and staff of the university. As the Mcity Driverless Shuttle is an initial stage research project, the vehicles do not yet have accessibility features. However, Mcity is working with accessibility experts and anticipates including accessibility features similar to the university’s ADA-compliant buses as part of a future stage of Mcity’s driverless shuttle research.
19. Is the shuttle operating now?
We’ve begun testing the shuttle along the route, and expect to add riders by spring 2018.