Free Shuttle Proposal

Hayden Island could test a free ride shuttle around the island. Situationally aware advertising (on the rooftop) may make it viable.

Uber drivers and others can now make supplemental income by displaying rooftop ads while driving. The screens are “situationally aware” — they know where they are — so advertisers can target their outdoor messages by location and time.

Firefly, which provides the rooftop ad display, seeks people who drive professionally at least 30 hours a week and pays drivers an average of $300 a month.

Advertisers can target their messages by location. Firefly provides the rooftop display and ads. WaiveCar gives advertisers lots of metrics about where and when their messages are seen. Advertisers pay around $1,500 a month for a “wrap,” and about $4,000 a month for exclusive use of the rooftop displays.

The Jantzen Beach Mall could offer free shuttle service. It’s more convenient for shoppers. Drivers could be subsidized through advertising. Everybody wins.

But location-based advertising is NOT rocket science. We could do it ourselves.

A common Polaris/GEM electric vehicle costs $16K. Add rooftop advertising ($4K). It could cost under $20K. Electric power lowers operating costs. If you had 20 different ads, at $5/day each, that’s $100/day ($3,000/month). Pays for itself in year one. Drivers get minimum wage plus tips.

Here’s the interesting part. Guess who bought Motivate this summer, the operator of Nike’s Biketown for $250 million…Lyft. And Lyft is teaming with May Mobility to test self-driving shuttles in Columbus, Ohio. Their self-driving shuttle service begins on December 10th.

Phase Two might provide an autonomous vehicle for island-only pickup and delivery. A driver would be present in all these trips. Right now a fully autonomous shuttle is VERY expensive. A vehicle leases for about $10,000 a month. It might be smarter for Hayden Island to let Lyft test this out.

Phase Three would provide full autonomy. No driver. Use your phone app to summon a vehicle. An autonomous electric shuttle could run all day with very little overhead cost. Location-based advertising helps make it sustainable.

Autonomous Shuttles are being tested RIGHT NOW:

PHOENIX. Google’s autonomous vehicle arm Waymo launched a driverless ride-hailing service on Wednesday in the Phoenix area.

COLUMBUS OHIO. Ohio’s first self-driving shuttle service begins on December 10th. Three May Mobility vehicles will cover a 1.5-mile loop, between 6AM and 10PM, with departures from each of the four stops every 10 minutes.

ANN ARBOR Michigan. Uses a NAVYA for driverless, completely electric autonomous shuttle vehicle in a dedicated M-City area.

DETROIT. May started autonomous service in Detroit this summer. May Mobility raised $11.5 million in seed funding from BMW iVentures, Toyota AI and teamed with Lyft to build a self-driving car platform.

WASHINGTON DC. A business group in DC wants to use a Local Motors self-driving shuttle to connect the Smithsonian to the city’s waterfront less than a half mile away.

– Uber has rolled out autonomous vehicles on city streets in Pennsylvania, California and Arizona. Uber’s Advanced Technology Group has run into a few bumps in the road (people).

Lyft opened tests in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Ford is testing self-driving cars in Miami and working with Postmates and Domino’s Pizza.

Ford and startups like Nuro are partnering with retailers to test robo delivery services.

Who might support free autonomous shuttles on Hayden Island? Lyft, Intel, Land Rover Innovation Lab, Forth Mobility, O-DOT and P-BOT among others. Federal matching funds could get it going.