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Free autonomous vehicle shuttle service launches in Indianapolis

Lexus RX Shuttle.png
Posted at 10:35 AM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 10:35:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS — An autonomous vehicle company and its local partners are bringing a new shuttle service to the streets of Indianapolis.

May Mobility, the Toyota Mobility Foundation, Energy Systems Network and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation formally announced the launch of the Lexus RX 450h and Polaris GEM shuttle, new autonomous vehicles, on Tuesday.

The free shuttle service — which is part of the "Together in Motion Indiana" initiative — is available to the public Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Nov. 19, 2021. The shuttle service will offer five Lexus RX 450h vehicles and one wheelchair-accessible Polaris GEM shuttle in downtown Indy and the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) communities.

“At May Mobility, our mission is to bring safe, accessible, and reliable mobility solutions to communities around the world,” Edwin Olson, the co-founder and CEO of May Mobility, stated. “We’re excited to be bringing AV technology to Central Indiana through our partnership with the Toyota Mobility Foundation, Energy Systems Network, and IndyGo.”

The Together in Motion website provides riders with the shuttle service's routes, whereabouts and nine designated stops. Although these are self-driving vehicles, the May Mobility website states, there will be one "fleet attendant" in each May Mobility vehicle to "ensure all systems are a go."

The self-driving shuttles arrive in 10- to 15-minute intervals on a rotating loop that was designed to increase mobility options. The shuttle provides a connection from IndyGo's Vermont Station, along the Red Line, to areas west of downtown. The route also circles the IU Health University Hospital and the Riley Hospital for Children campuses.

“IndyGo exists to connect our community to economic and cultural opportunities through safe, reliable, and accessible mobility experiences,” Lesley Gordon, the vice president of communications and marketing at IndyGo, stated. “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.

TMF and ESN created Together in Motion Indiana, they say, as a way to "foster innovation through industry partnerships and propel research and development in advanced mobility technologies" in the Hoosier state. The initiative seeks to deploy various mobility options to local communities in an effort to expand "valued activities" and other communities.

In the next phase of Together in Motion Indiana, the self-driving shuttles will operate in Fishers. The autonomous vehicle will be heading up to Hamilton County in November.