The Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF), Energy Systems Network (ESN), the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), and May Mobility have announced the launch of a free autonomous shuttle service in Central Indiana.
The free service, a part of TMF’s Together in Motion Indiana, began on June 1st, 2021, and serves the downtown Indianapolis and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) communities. Together in Motion is an initiative bringing stakeholders together to test the interoperability of mobility innovations and facilitate the efficient movement of people and goods. The autonomous shuttle service supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Sustainable Cities and Communities goal (No. 11) and Toyota’s commitment to providing Mobility for All.
“At May Mobility, our mission is to bring safe, accessible, and reliable mobility solutions to communities around the world,” said Edwin Olson, co-founder and CEO of May Mobility. “We’re excited to bring AV technology to Central Indiana through our partnership with the Toyota Mobility Foundation, Energy Systems Network, and IndyGo.”
“IndyGo exists to connect our community to economic and cultural opportunities through safe, reliable, and accessible mobility experiences,” added Lesley Gordon, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at IndyGo. “We will continue to lend our knowledge and expertise with the team at May Mobility and to work alongside these industry leaders as they seek to improve Central Indiana’s mobility ecosystem.”
The AV shuttle service runs through November 19th, 2021, and operates Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The service is available to the public and features five Lexus RX 450h vehicles and one wheelchair-accessible Polaris GEM shuttle equipped with May Mobility’s autonomous technology. Riders can plan their trips on Google Maps and see live updates of a shuttle’s location.
There are nine designated stops in Indianapolis, each identifiable by a sign providing route information and a scannable QR code leading to the Together in Motion Indiana website. Through the QR code, riders can learn more about May Mobility technology and the shuttle route. Shuttles arrive in 10- to 15-minute intervals on a rotating loop. The route was designed to increase mobility options by providing a connection from the Vermont Station – along IndyGo’s Red Line – to areas west of downtown. Additionally, the route circles the campuses of IU Health University Hospital and the Riley Hospital for Children.
To ensure riders’ health and safety, masks are currently required for all passengers and fleet attendants. Shuttles will carry only one household per ride, and all shuttles are equipped with partitions and UVC disinfectant lights that will clean the shuttle interior between rides.
The AV shuttle service is part of the Together in Motion Indiana initiative announced earlier in 2021 by TMF and ESN. It aims to foster innovation through industry partnerships and propel research and development in advanced mobility technologies in Indiana. The initiative supports the deployments of various mobility solutions to better serve the transportation needs of the local communities, to understand the changing ecosystems surrounding these needs, to potentially expand such initiatives into other communities, and to establish networks for the sharing and leveraging of key learnings.
“Indiana is the ideal location to launch the first Together in Motion initiative because of the strong local partnerships with Energy Systems Network and the local communities,” said Ryan Klem, Director of Programs, Toyota Mobility Foundation. “They have facilitated May Mobility’s integration into the local transportation offerings, and we look forward to learning about local use and impact so we can transfer and scale this knowledge to other locations.”