GRAND RAPIDS — The autonomous shuttle that runs through downtown could transition to an on-demand format with new vehicles under a proposal before city officials to renew the pilot program that’s set to expire on April 30.

The Autonomous Vehicle Initiative led by Mobile GR, Ann Arbor-based May Mobility Inc. and various private sponsors started in July 2019. The program consists of four autonomous shuttles that loop in a 3.2-mile route around downtown from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, giving riders free trips around town. A fifth, wheelchair accessible shuttle is also available upon request.

City commissioners this week will consider extending the program, which would cost the city $50,000 plus in-kind services toward the project. May Mobility is working to secure private sponsors to cover the rest of what is expected to be a roughly $1 million, one-year extension. 

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