Now Arriving: 10,000 Rides in a Self-Driving Shuttle

As the approach of the technologically inevitable future nears, everyone seems to have an opinion on self-driving cars. Yet, very few people have actually ridden in one. First hand experience is mostly limited to the handful of companies in the world that can produce these cars. May Mobility is one such company, having launched a self-driving shuttle service in June of 2018 in downtown Detroit. Now that we’ve given 10,000 trips, we’d like to share what we’re learning.

On September 10th, we celebrated how far we’ve come:

1 ride
10 rides
100 rides
1000 rides
10,000 rides ← We are here.
100,000 rides
1,000,000 rides
10,000,000 rides
100,000,000 rides
1,000,000,000 rides

First hand experience calms the nerves.

We asked a rider who’s taken shuttles daily for the last couple months what she would go back and tell another rider before their driverless vehicle experience. Her answer reflected what we’ve heard from many of the regular route-goers:

“Change is evident and this is going to be a part of the future, so buckle in. I’ve been riding them for awhile and I feel safe. I don’t feel nervous when I’m in them.”
- Tiffany Paruszkiewicz

As required by Michigan law, each shuttle currently has a human fleet attendant in the vehicle. We’ve discovered that people can’t tell the difference between robot and human driving. This speaks to rapidly growing rider acceptance, improved technology for a smoother ride, and positive in-vehicle experiences.

Improved experience means living a better life, today.

Riders are experiencing reduced wait times with our fleet of shuttles; they no longer have to wait for a large bus to fill up before it departs. The shift from fixed schedule departures based on large volume vehicles to capacity departures with the May Mobility shuttles translates to shorter wait times. Riders cite this reduced wait time as a key reason for their improved rider satisfaction on NPS surveys. (Not familiar with NPS? That’s ok! More on rider satisfaction as measured by NPS in a future post.)

“I prefer it over the previous [Bedrock] shuttle. It is more efficient. I never really have to sit and wait for anyone to be here which is nice; it was raining the other day and I didn’t have to stand in [the rain] and wait for the shuttle. So that is awesome.”
- Tiffany Paruszkiewicz

The transitive property of awesome.

Commuters feel excited about being early adopters of self-driving technology. They feel pride in their company, their city, and themselves. It is the transitive property of awesome at work.

But what happens if the “new and shiny” aspect of the experience starts to wear off?

Good news — 75 days in, it hasn’t, yet! We’re seeing that as rider experience increases, so does excitement about the possibilities of self-driving vehicles.

This is only just the beginning for us. As we continue to grow, we look forward to experience-led learning and sharing more insights along the way.

Interested in joining us for the ride? Follow us on Medium. Also, we’re hiring.