Eastern Michigan University to launch autonomous shuttle service on campus

By Meredith Bruckner, WDIV via ClickOnDetroit

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Eastern Michigan University’s GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology will be deploying autonomous shuttles on campus this year and will be opening a new space at the American Center for Mobility for research and development.

EMU will deploy two Olli autonomous shuttles manufactured by Local Motors later this year.

“These projects represent a dynamic step forward for the University,” Eastern Michigan University President James Smith said in a release. “Having our students engaged and active in the world of autonomous vehicles, and the research that takes place on our campus and at the American Center for Mobility, will give them a distinct advantage as they pursue their future careers.

“It is important to acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the GameAbove alumni group and its support of projects such as these. I am truly thankful for GameAbove’s involvement.”

“In order to remain a top tier engineering and technology college, commitments like these are necessary,” dean of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology Mohamad Qatu said in a release. “Not only will the Ollis enable our students to receive hands on experience working with autonomous vehicles, but they will also provide transportation for the greater campus community.

“The space at ACM offers a world class facility that will bring us closer to companies working on autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity. This agreement will help to further establish EMU as a major educational institution on autonomous and connected vehicles.”

One of the Eagle Shuttles will be on display this evening outside Rynearson Stadium as EMU kicks off its first football game of the 2021 season.

The self-driving, low-speed, electric vehicles will transport students and faculty around campus and to locations within the community. Planned shuttle routes will be shared during the school year.

“This partnership is important to showing the utility and capability of Ollis,” CEO of Local Motors Jay Rogers said in a release. “The project with EMU will focus on how autonomous solutions, like Olli, connect people with safe transportation alternatives and present new learning opportunities. This kind of deployment, on and around campus, is an ideal setting for Olli.”

EMU’s new vehicle lab at ACM will focus on autonomous vehicle cybersecurity research. The partnership will also help to secure grants and projects with leaders in the industry and help support an incoming Senior Research Engineer position.

“The vision has always been to leverage ACM’s smart mobility test center for research, education and workforce development,” President and CEO of ACM Reuben Sarkar said in a release. “ACM is excited to have EMU be the first university to set up residency here, offering exponential benefits and academic opportunities through immersion into a real-world test center, working alongside industry professionals.”

GameAbove is a group of EMU alumni and supporters that have funded numerous initiatives across campus. This includes the new research position at ACM and a new partnership between EMU and Perrone Robotics for three senior projects.

“We are always looking at new opportunities to help EMU enhance what they provide to students,” Senior Vice President of Operations for CapStone Holdings Ashley Beal said in a release. “The research position will help advance EMU’s commitment to innovation, while connecting the university with Perrone will broaden the experience EMU offers its students.”