Answers to your questions about the Mcity Driverless Shuttle.
1. What is the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research 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 used two fully-automated, 11-passenger, all-electric shuttles manufactured by French firm NAVYA to transport students, faculty, and staff on a non-stop one-mile route at U-M’s North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) on Plymouth Road. The shuttle ran from June 4, 2018–December 13, 2019. The data collection portion of the project is now complete and we are in the process of preparing our research findings.
2. Could students ride the shuttle from their dorm room to classes?
The Mcity Driverless Shuttle only operated on a non-stop one-mile route at U-M’s North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) on Plymouth Road.
3. What hours did the shuttle operate?
Hours of operation were Monday–Friday, 9 am–3 pm, weather permitting.
4. Who could ride the Mcity Driverless Shuttle?
The shuttle was used to transport members of the U-M community. Guests were required to be at least 18 years old and provide university identification to the shuttle safety conductors, if asked.
5. Was there any preparation needed to ride the shuttle?
No special preparation was needed to ride the shuttle. Riders simply boarded the shuttle and were asked to buckle their seat belts.
6. What kind of vehicle is the Mcity Driverless Shuttle?
The Mcity Driverless Shuttle project used the AUTONOM Shuttle, manufactured by French firm NAVYA. The AUTONOM Shuttle is an electric, driverless shuttle.
7. Is the NAYVA Autonom Shuttle fully automated?
The Autonom Shuttle operated along a prescribed route. It was speed-limited and inclement-weather limited, and operated without a human being at the controls. A safety conductor was on board at all times to monitor the operation of the shuttle, and to stop the shuttle if necessary for safety reasons, throughout the duration of the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research project.
8. How does the NAYVA Autonom Shuttle drive itself?
The Autonom Shuttle 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 Autonom Shuttle to detect and avoid obstacles as the vehicle travels along a programmed route.
9. Was there a person on board to oversee the shuttle’s operation?
Yes. A safety conductor was on the shuttle at all times. The conductor did not drive the vehicle – there is no steering wheel – but the conductor did have the ability to manually stop the shuttle if necessary for safety reasons.
10. What route did the shuttle take?
The shuttle traveled on a round-trip route at the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) near Plymouth Road. There were two stops, a north stop at Building 10 at NCRC, and a temporary south stop at Building 36, near parking lot NC91.
11. How long was the route?
The route was about one mile round-trip, and ran roughly every 10 minutes when the two shuttles were in operation.
12. Was U-M the first university to use driverless shuttles on campus?
As far as we know, the Mcity Driverless Shuttle was the first shuttle project in the United States that focuses on consumer research. The research 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 Autonom Shuttle?
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 was on board and could manually stop the shuttle if needed for safety.
14. Did the shuttle drive along other vehicles on the road?
Yes, the shuttle shared the road with other vehicles.
15. Is the NAYVA being used anywhere else in the world?
Yes. Autonom 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 did the Mcity Driverless Shuttle work with U-M’s bus service?
The shuttles were operated by U-M Transportation, Logistics and Parking, but were not a primary transportation service of the university. The shuttles at U-M were 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. Was the shuttle 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. The Mcity Driverless Shuttle was an initial stage research project, the vehicles did not 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. Additionally, Mcity has formed a research workgroup to evaluate the accessibility of autonomous transportation services to individuals who have disabilities.
19. Is the shuttle operating now?
The Mcity Driverless Shuttle began carrying passengers on June 4, 2018 until December 13, 2019. The shuttle is no longer in operation.
20. Could riders provide feedback about their experience with the Mcity Driverless Shuttle?
Mcity, in collaboration with J.D. Power, developed a short online survey and welcomed feedback from anyone who rode the shuttle, saw the shuttle, or interacted with the shuttle on campus.
21. Who conducted the online survey?
J.D. Power, a global market research company and Affiliate member of Mcity, conducted the survey.
22. Who will receive the survey results?
Survey results will be anonymized and provided to Mcity industry members and researchers. The data gathered will help researchers learn how consumers react and interact with driverless technology, as well as how to design safer vehicles and how to operate them more efficiently. Mcity and J.D. Power will share insights gained from the project early in 2020, including a white paper posted to the Mcity website for the public to view and download.
23. Could riders provide feedback more than once?
Riders were encouraged to provide additional feedback if their experience changed substantially since they last took the short survey. For instance, if they took their first ride or interacted with the shuttle more regularly would be valid reasons to submit new feedback.