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December 3rd, 2018

Ohio’s First Self-Driving Shuttle Opens To The Public

Smart Circuit offers Columbus residents and visitors a glimpse into the future of mobility

COLUMBUS, OH – Smart Columbus and DriveOhio today unveiled Smart Circuit – Ohio’s first self-driving shuttle – by offering free rides and a glimpse into the future of transportation. The low-speed vehicles will serve destinations around Columbus’ Scioto Mile from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, starting Monday, December 10.

“Smart Circuit gives us an opportunity to learn more about self-driving technology in real time as we work to improve our city’s transportation ecosystem,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “Many people in our community still lack access to convenient transportation options, and Smart Circuit is another exciting step in researching and deploying new technologies that have the potential to improve equity and expand access to opportunity in our city."

The shuttles offer residents and visitors a hands-on educational experience with self-driving technology. Engineers, researchers and policymakers from Smart Columbus, DriveOhio and The Ohio State University will use the demonstration to inform future deployments of self-driving vehicle technology in Ohio, including a route planned for a Columbus neighborhood, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge grant.

Three all-electric vehicles service the 1.5-mile route, with shuttles arriving at each of four stops approximately every 10 minutes. The vehicle, which has a maximum speed of 25 MPH, has a four-seat “campfire” configuration in the rear of the vehicle as well as a 49-inch digital display that provides system and route information. A human operator rides aboard each vehicle with access to driving controls at all times. Michigan-based startup May Mobility operates the shuttles and employs its fleet attendants.

“Ohio’s investment in smart mobility technologies will ultimately lead to safer, less congested roadways and better access to jobs, community services and commerce,” Gov. John Kasich said. “Ohioans can now see for themselves how these technologies will transform the future of our state.”

"With this forward-thinking group of partners, we're giving Ohio the opportunity to drive less and live more," said Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility. "May Mobility offers self-driving transportation solutions for communities today - and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to serve public riders for the very first time in our self-driving shuttles around Columbus' beautiful Scioto Mile."

Smart Circuit shuttles operate autonomously, using a suite of sensors that deliver a 360-degree view around the vehicle. The sensors and intelligent software help the vehicle understand where it is; in which direction to steer; and when to slow down, accelerate, or stop for something in its path. Mapping allows the vehicle to know every inch of its route and navigate through various traffic conditions. The vehicle operator provides riders with information about the route and technology and can take control of the vehicle at any time.

“The Columbus Region has long been a pioneer in autonomous vehicle research and development, thanks to assets like The Ohio State University and Transportation Research Center,” said Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership. “Smart Circuit is the next step in Columbus’ emergence as a world-class destination for autonomous vehicle innovation, as we deploy the technology in a real-world setting for the first time and continue to discover the possibilities it brings.”

Smart Circuit will pick up and drop off passengers at Center of Science and Industry (COSI), the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Bicentennial Park and the Smart Columbus Experience Center. The shuttle is free to ride. Additional information is available at  

About Smart Columbus 
The City of Columbus’ Smart Columbus plan won the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) $40 million Smart City Challenge in June 2016 after competing against 77 cities nationwide to become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self- driving cars, connected vehicles and smart sensors – into its transportation network. Columbus was also awarded an additional $10 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies to accelerate the transition to an electrified, low-emissions transportation system. Aligned investments totaling more than $500 million have been made by the private, public and academic institutions in the region to support technology and infrastructure investments that upgrade Columbus' transportation network and help make Columbus the model connected city of the future. Smart Columbus is a regional smart city initiative co-led by the City of Columbus and Columbus Partnership that includes partnerships with The Ohio State University, Battelle, American Electric Power and many more. 

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About DriveOhio 
DriveOhio was created by Governor John R. Kasich on January 18, 2018, as a center within the Ohio Department of Transportation that brings together those who are responsible for building infrastructure in Ohio with those who are developing the advanced mobility technologies needed to allow the state’s transportation system to reach its full potential. Current smart mobility initiatives already under construction in Ohio include four smart road projects covering 164 miles of roadway and three smart city projects including Smart Columbus, winner of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s first Smart City Challenge in 2016. 

For more information, visit,  

About May Mobility 
May Mobility delivers solutions that work in today’s communities to accelerate the path toward a future where people can drive less and live more. May Mobility’s founders bring unparalleled expertise in academia, innovation and the auto industry, counting University of Michigan’s APRIL lab, MIT, the DARPA Urban Challenge, Ford, GM, and Toyota among recent experience. Their goal is to realize a world where self-driving systems increase the reliability of transportation, make the roads much safer, and encourage better land use in order to foster more green, vibrant, and livable spaces. The company’s investors include BMW i Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners, Maven Ventures, SV Angel, Tandem Ventures, Trucks Ventures, and YCombinator. 

For more information, visit

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