Western Michigan University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will receive funding for a project to bring an autonomous electric shuttle to the Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The $2.2M project—New Autonomous Mobility Vision for Michigan—is being funded through the $8M Michigan Mobility Challenge announced by former Gov. Rick Snyder last year.
The project is a collaboration with Pratt & Miller Engineering being the project lead, WMU, the University of Michigan, Kevadiya, Robotic Research, Comet Mobility and Easterseals.
A safety operator in the vehicle is present at all times to take control, if needed. The vehicle can hold up to four passengers at a time, or a wheelchair rider with two passengers. In the future, a larger-scale vehicle for 12 people also is planned.
The college will host an autonomous demonstration for the custom vehicle in fall 2019. At this time, it will launch a one-month pilot program that will run service between multiple buildings within the Battle Creek VA campus. The driverless pilot service will run after 4:30 p.m. and will be free to service members and their families.