As a leading provider of high-performance fiber optic gyros (FOGs) and inertial navigation systems for unmanned applications around the world, we at KVH don’t often get to see an up-close example of our sensors in action. Our tech partnership with May Mobility, however, is bringing things very close to home. May Mobility, based in Ann Arbor, MI, is the first company to successfully deploy self-driving vehicles as transportation solutions for the public—and the development team at May Mobility chose KVH’s inertial measurement units as part of the sensor fusion solution for their autonomous shuttles.
May Mobility’s autonomous vehicles—each one containing KVH’s 1725 IMU—began rolling down the streets in Detroit, MI, and Columbus, OH, in late 2018.
So when May Mobility came to Providence, RI, which is just 30 miles north of KVH’s Middletown, RI, global headquarters, in mid-May 2019, KVH was there to see the May Mobility autonomous shuttles carrying passengers on city streets near the RI State Capitol.
It was all part of Little Roady, an autonomous shuttle pilot project launched by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation for service from May 2019 to May 2020.
Ben Thompson, May Mobility’s VP of sales and marketing, and Andrew Dykman, senior field autonomy engineer for May Mobility, explained that KVH’s IMUs provide extremely accurate information on how the shuttles are moving through the five-mile Providence route, allowing the autonomous shuttles to align other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians within semantic maps.
The KVH team on hand at the Little Roady launch was particularly thrilled to receive a callout from RI Governor Gina Raimondo, who had visited KVH headquarters previously: “KVH is a fantastic innovative company…Thanks for all you do!”
May Mobility chose KVH’s 1725 IMU to enhance the performance of the sensor data used in the autonomous shuttles’ localization algorithm. “Other solutions were considered, but our prior experience with the output data quality of the KVH product informed our choice and helped us rapidly bring a robust solution to the market,” noted Steve Vozar, May Mobility’s chief technology officer.
KVH’s 1725 IMU is designed to deliver the performance criteria essential for precise navigation and safe operation of autonomous vehicles, including scale factor, angle random walk, and bias instability. Containing three high-performance gyros and three low-noise accelerometers, the KVH IMUs are ideal for a wide range of navigation and stabilization applications where precision, affordability, and high bandwidth are critical.
The May Mobility team heads to Grand Rapids, MI, for their next program on public streets, set to begin in late spring 2019. That means KVH’s 1725 IMUs are heading to Grand Rapids also. That’s how we roll!