Driverless Shuttles Coming to Detroit

Autonomous vehicles may still seem like a thing of the future, but that future is going to be in Detroit sooner than some may expect. Starting this fall, you can see self-driving shuttles transporting passengers throughout the city, but only for a select few riders, and for a very limited amount of time. May Mobility, an Ann Arbor based start-up company, is set to begin testing autonomous vehicles in downtown Detroit in October.

The Detroit News reported that Quicken Loans founder and downtown developer, Dan Gilbert, announced the project at the Technology in Motion conference in Detroit on September 6, 2017. Employees of Gilbert’s companies, Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures, will ride the shuttles back and forth from their offices to parking areas in the central business district. Gilbert said the program is being funded entirely by his company and without any government grants. The shuttles will run from the First National building in Cadillac Square, to the Brick Town parking garage at Beaubien and Fort streets. The set path of the shuttles includes Woodward, Monroe, Beaubien, and East Congress. The shuttles will get a total of 15 hours of testing, operating October 9-13, from 7 PM to 10 PM. All employees of Gilbert's are invited to participate in the program.

Dan Gilbert Detroit Lawyer

While autonomous vehicles have been tested in our city before, this is the first time they will be transporting people. According to Crain's Detroit Business, the company is testing two, six-passenger vehicles that are manufactured by Minnesota based company Polaris. Polaris describes the shuttles as “very comfortable,” with each passenger getting their own door and their own seat. For those who find the idea of a driverless shuttle a bit nerve racking, the company is putting a safety driver on each shuttle. The safety driver will not be operating the vehicle, but can override it if need be. However, the company hopes to not need safety drivers in the future. More so, the company has been driving routes in central Detroit for months, in order to gather as much data as possible.

These aren’t the first autonomous passenger shuttles to come to Southeast Michigan. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC recently wrote about driverless shuttles at the University of Michigan. Starting this fall, 15-passenger autonomous shuttles that can reach speeds of up to 35 mph have been providing students with a new way to get to class. The shuttles travel between University of Michigan's North Campus (home to MCity, a testing ground for autonomous vehicles) and a nearby university research facility. The shuttles are being used to test consumer reaction to and acceptance of autonomous technology on the road.

Michigan Autonomous Vehicle Lawyer

While the shuttles coming to Detroit are only going to be tested for a short time, they signify a larger step forward for autonomous technology. This small glance into the world of driverless vehicles in Detroit could be the beginning of something we start to see much more often. While the hope is that autonomous technology can cut down on the number of automobile accidents due to human error, there is likely still a ways to go until we reach a time with self-driving cars and no automobile accidents. However, corporations willing to invest in this technology, coupled with car manufacturers and automotive technology developers in and near Detroit, make the city the perfect playground for self driving vehicles, and can propel us forward to safer roads.


The rapidly increasing progress of autonomous vehicle technology is exciting, but it also presents challenges to drivers and traffic laws we have never seen before. As with any new automotive technology, driver safety is the most important thing. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.

Introducing The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog has maintained a focus on the steady development of autonomous vehicle projects and the various companies that are preparing for future autonomous vehicle production. However, cars are not the only forms of transportation that will soon become automated.

Daimler, the creator of the Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles, is revolutionizing public city transportation by creating the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, a semi-automated bus with CityPilot. CityPilot is an autonomous driving system designed by Daimler, that allows semi-automated buses to drive safely and efficiently in a special, designated lane up to 43 mph. According to Daimler’s website, the Future Bus has been the next development following the Mercedes-Benz Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, a partially automated semi-truck that has already been driving on its own, on motorways. The CityPilot system was created based off of Highway Pilot technology, yet it has undergone more advanced developments and possesses more functions.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

CityPilot is equipped with about a dozen cameras that scan the road, while short and long radar systems monitor the route ahead. This allows the bus to recognize and communicate with traffic lights, perceive obstacles-most importantly pedestrians-operate and brake autonomously, and position itself precisely to the centimeter. The Future Bus can approach stops automatically and open its doors to let citizens in an out, drive through tunnels, includes a precise GPS navigation system, and can reach a top speed of 70 km/h (about 43 mph). For safety precautions, a human driver sits at the wheel to monitor the route, and may take control of the wheel at any moment if necessary.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

The interior and exterior design gives the Future Bus a unique, futuristic look, while offering passengers a state-of-the-art, comfortable ride. The exterior offers a ground-breaking design including an array of smooth contours, cutting edge door layouts, and sleek lines designed to both appeal to the aesthetic and to put the 'future' in Future Bus. The interior is designed with an open, relaxed layout made up of 3 zones based on how long the passenger plans to ride. Each zone is comprised of very modern, comfortable seating, and the ceiling lights have been arranged to resemble a leaf canopy. Passengers are also able to access information and entertainment through large monitors in the middle passenger department, and can even charge their smartphones on charging pads next to their seats.

As reported by The Verge, the Future Bus has already been put to the test as it completed a 30 km (about 12 miles) route through the Netherlands back in July, 2016. This route included challenging turns, tunnels, traffic lights, and pedestrians. The bus was successfully able to navigate itself flawlessly without the driver needing to turn the wheel, brake, or accelerate at any moment.

Source:  Diamler

Source: Diamler

According to Mashable, unlike the Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, in which Daimler plans to begin production in 2020, the company does not plan to produce Future Bus Prototypes. Instead, Daimler plans to use certain parts of the advanced technology and semi-autonomous system to implement into regular city buses for the future, as well as focusing on the improvement of its zero-emission production plans. So, it could be possible that Detroit and other major Michigan cities such as Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor, may have automated public transportation in the future!


The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is a ground-breaking innovation built with safety features that far exceed what is humanly possible. With cameras and radar systems that can detect even the smallest motions during a route, and an autonomous driving system that can force itself to brake on a dime, it is hard to imagine any safety risks that can occur. However, it is imperative to note that buses, regardless if a human is driving or not, may prove a risk to citizens and may be prone to accidents. According to The Accident Data Center, over 55,000 people are injured by buses in the US per year. If you or anyone you know has been injured by a bus, car, or been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.