April 21, 2022
May Mobility, which develops autonomous vehicle (AV) technology and ride-share operations, has announced partnering with BraunAbility, a manufacturer of mobility transportation solutions, to modify the May Mobility Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS (S-AM) fleet to include ADA-compliant vehicles.
The company said this is part of its broader vision to improve accessibility and equity in transit through autonomous driving technology. It said it is also integrating assistive technology within the vehicle cabin through speakers and a display to help people with audio and/or visual impairments see and hear when it is safe to enter and exit the vehicle.
“Ensuring that autonomous vehicles are developed in a way that advances transportation equity goals is a key pillar for May Mobility,” said Erin McCurry, product manager and accessibility lead at May Mobility. “In the U.S., 3.6 million people do not leave their homes because of travel-limiting disabilities. As we transition our fleet to the Sienna Autono-MaaS platform, we are working towards a future where everyone has access to safe, reliable transportation.”
The partnership with BraunAbility will produce an ADA-compliant, rear-entry conversion of May Mobility’s S-AM vehicles. The vehicles will be able to carry two ambulatory (non-wheelchair users) riders along with a rider using a wheelchair, or four ambulatory riders, the company said.
“Our founder, Ralph Braun, began engineering the very first automotive mobility solutions over 50 years ago,” said Staci Kroon, CEO of BraunAbility. “Just like the evolution of automotive mobility, autonomous travel for wheelchair users is a journey of evolving technology. BraunAbility and May Mobility begin that new evolution together, and our solutions will be accessible to every wheelchair user.”
May Mobility said it will also enhance the Sienna’s interior with audio and visual cues to inform riders of key journey moments, such as arriving at a stop, doors opening and closing, and departure.
“Designing for people with disabilities makes the entire product easier to use for everyone,” added McCurry. “We’re excited to launch these assistive features in every single new vehicle.”
May Mobility said the first modified S-AM vehicles will be phased in at all existing May Mobility sites in 2022. Further development and deployment of ADA-compliant vehicles and technologies will also continue through this partnership. The S-AM vehicle features Toyota’s adaptable Vehicle Control Interface, which enables technology integration with May Mobility’s autonomous driving kit (ADK) for the operation of key vehicle control systems, such as steering, brakes and acceleration.
To learn more about May Mobility and its technologies, visit its website here.