It's My First Day: Self-driving Mobility Shuttle Pulled Over in Rhode Island

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
its my first day self driving mobility shuttle pulled over in rhode island

Self-driving shuttle company May Mobility expanded its operations to include Rhode Island this week. The state agreed to pay the firm $800,000 for the first year of operations, allowing it to get its six-passenger micro shuttles running between an Amtrak station and downtown Providence as part of an ongoing pilot program.

However, one of the shuttles was pulled over just hours after entering service for a rather baffling reason.

Apparently, the officer who initiated the stop just wanted to have a look at the vehicle. Given that May Mobility spent the greater part of the last month ensuring the shuttle was plastered all over local media, we’re left wondering how this particular law enforcement official could have possibly missed the memo.

According to Automotive News, Lindsay Lague, a public information officer for the office of public safety in Providence, said the officer in question issued no tickets or warnings to the safety attendant inside the autonomous vehicle. “Given the fact that the shuttle service just kicked off this morning,” she said, “the officer was not familiar with the odd-looking vehicle.”

“As part of our debut in Providence, we’ve spent the last month meeting with public safety officials and community leaders to introduce them to our service,” Alisyn Malek, May Mobility’s co-founder and COO, said in a statement. “Our goal is to educate the broader community about May Mobility’s shuttle, so they will start to see us as part of their transportation options.”

She said that people are naturally curious when they see one of the green-and-white shuttles, adding, adding, “We welcome that interest.”

If you’ve never seen one in action — which is likely, as they currently operate in a select number of U.S. cities — May Mobility’s are rather striking. But they’re also riddled with corporate branding, leaving us to wonder what exactly got the officer so worked up. Surely they could have radioed in to ask what the shuttle was doing. Was this a city-sponsored publicity stunt, a case of an officer with nothing better to do, or a cover-up for some minor autonomous snafu? We haven’t the slightest, but Providence maintains that the officer’s curiosity simply got the better of him.

Currently, May Mobility operates shuttles in Detroit, Michigan, and Columbus, Ohio. Service in Providence launched on Wednesday and will be free to passengers for one year. Service in Grand Rapids, Michigan is slated to commence this summer.

[Images: May Mobility]

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3 of 38 comments
  • DedBull DedBull on May 17, 2019

    If you have to have a "safety attendant" on board to take control at a moment's notice, what does it really gain you? You're still paying someone who most likely has to be qualified to drive it anyways.

    • Ban-One Ban-One on May 18, 2019

      you don't go from steam locomotive to space shuttle overnight. baby steps.

  • Namstrap Namstrap on May 18, 2019

    It was in the early eighties, but I got pulled over by a cop who wanted to talk to me about my Honda CBX. He'd never seen a six cylinder motorcycle before. I was sweating a bit because it was too easy to go faster than expected on that bike.

  • Fred I don't know about those big screens. Is there a way to minimize the display, so it's not so distracting? Especially at night the glow doesn't make it easy for me.
  • Arthur Dailey Toronto Blue Jays' games are only available on AM radio. As I am 'on the road' quite often when the Jays play that is my only option for listening to the game. So an AM radio is something of a 'must have' for me.
  • JMII My brother tracked one of these for several years... it will embarrass other sports cars. He sold it to someone who still rips it around on track days. Given my previous VW experience I wouldn't touch it but these are surprising quick and handle well for hatchback credit going to a decent AWD system. $16k seems crazy, but Rs aren't that common and this one appears to be in great condition and seems well sorted.
  • Arthur Dailey I meant the grille and the profile along the passenger area. Look closely and it is reminiscent of the Journey.
  • Daniel 16500 pesos