Working in partnership with Ford Motor Company, MIT will put three all-electric vehicles around campus for students to hail via an app, similar to a ridesharing service. The rides, available only to students, facility, and staff, will also serve as a data collection tool for the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department’s Aerospace Controls Lab (ACL).
ACL is conducting research on the patterns of on-demand services in urban areas, ultimately hoping to predict when and where demand for rides will be. Jonathan How, director of ACL, said, “Through the mobility-on-demand system being developed for MIT’s campus, ACL can investigate new planning and prediction algorithms in a complex, but controlled, environment, while simultaneously providing a testbed framework for researchers and a service to the MIT community.”
While the vehicles will have drivers for now, ACL hopes the program can lead to autonomous vehicle testing in the future.
The New England Council looks forward to seeing MIT roll out the shuttle this fall.