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12/20/2021

Autonomous Delivery Service Program Comes to Michigan

Program from vehicle manufacturer and engineering firm aims to define and improve the service
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Autonomous Delivery Service Program Comes to Michigan
A lightweight utility vehicle will be tested for autonomous delivery in a suburban Michigan neighborhood.

In another signal that autonomous grocery delivery is part of the future, electric vehicle manufacturer EV Transportation Services, Inc. (evTS) of Boston, Mass., is piloting a new program in suburban Detroit designed to determine opportunities and challenges of such services. The company is teaming up with sustainable design and engineering firm Stantec GenerationAV to test actual and simulated autonomous delivery by an all-electric lightweight utilize vehicle called the Firefly ESV.

Data from the pilot will be used throughout the autonomous delivery ecosystem that includes grocers, fulfillment centers and delivery services. Among other goals, the program will help those in the industry understand consumers’ shopping experience, test different vehicle form factors and assess various technologies and operations in the public domain.

Information from the program, which is funded in part by the State of Michigan, will also be shared with public transportation efficiencies to help guide them as they determine policies and regulations.

“Autonomous delivery vehicles are rapidly moving towards the market, and this program is a unique opportunity to work directly with some of the leading companies in the space to explore the potential of our vehicles,” said David Solomont, chairman and CEO of evTS. “Insights on how the Firefly ESV performs under autonomous driving in a variety of environments during the program will be applied to our autonomous ready integration program for our customers."

In announcing the state grants, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said that the technologies can unlock new possible for consumers as well as those in the retail and service sectors. “Through these community-led initiatives and technologies, our residents will be empowered to take control of their transportation options with more accessible and affordable solutions that will lead to a greater quality of life here in Michigan,” she remarked.

Other partners in the program include General Motors, accessory and technology suppliers The Shyft Group and Interplai, and the Michigan Office of Future Mobility. Following the initial pilot in suburban neighborhoods, other planned phases include route and service expansion and possible usage in urban areas.

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