An autonomous shuttle service that ran in downtown Indianapolis earlier this year has launched in Fishers. The service, which will focus on the area surrounding the Nickel Plate Cultural District in the Hamilton County city, is part of the Together in Motion Indiana initiative established by the Toyota Mobility Foundation and Indianapolis-based Energy Systems Network.
The partners have joined the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the city of Fishers, and Michigan-based May Mobility to launch the service.
May Mobility is managing a fleet of autonomous shared vehicles that will operate on a three-mile fixed-route loop with nine designated stops. The city says the loop connects the residential area at Pullman Pointe and South Pointe Village apartments to the commercial district along Commercial Drive and Fishers Corner Boulevard, Municipal Drive and 116th Street.
“With our commitment to innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, it was a natural fit for Fishers to serve as the first suburban site for May Mobility’s autonomous vehicle fleet,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said in written remarks. “Our Nickel Plate Cultural District is the perfect test site for this technology as our partners identify the nuances of a suburban environment for autonomous technology.”
The autonomous fleet includes five hybrid Lexus RS 450h vehicles and one wheelchair-accessible Polaris GEM fully electric vehicle. The service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with shuttles arriving every 10 to 15 minutes.
“The Nickel Plate Cultural District in Fishers represents an ideal location to deploy an autonomous shuttle service through May Mobility,” said Ryan Klem, director of programs for the Toyota Mobility Foundation. “We are excited to learn how the community utilizes the service as this experience will go far in providing valuable insights that will inform the future of mobility in cities all across the US and further propel Toyota’s mission of Mobility for All.”
May Mobility recently wrapped up the shuttle service in downtown Indy, which included stops on the IUPUI campus and the IU Health University Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children campuses.
In an interview earlier this year for our quarterly INPower e-newsletter, May Mobility Field Engineering Manager Jay Miles said the company’s goal is to continue to extend the service beyond pilot periods.
“In Fishers, we’re looking at what it might mean to connect the business park that’s over on the east side of the highway,” Miles said. “We see opportunities for expansion and I think that our partners are going to take this as a learning opportunity to understand what is the demand for and then work with us as the technology and operations providers to understand what’s feasible and how can we do it in a sustainable manner.”
May Mobility says it provided more than 3,400 rides in downtown Indy from June to November of this year.