Free Shuttle Proposal

Hayden Island could test a free ride shuttle around the island. Situationally aware advertising (on the rooftop) may make it viable. Octopus is an entertainment/tip/advertising platform available for passengers inside the vehicle. Lyft uses it. Lyft aims to bring fully driverless cars to multiple US cities in 2023.

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.

People are paying about $2.50 a mile when they use ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. If they buy a car, they are essentially paying 70 cents a mile to go the same distance. Autonomous taxis could lower that cost to 26 cents a mile, because there’s no driver to pay.

That’s $.26 a mile. Essentially, free. When will autonomous vehicles happen? Not for years. But in a controlled access area like Hayden Island it could happen tomorrow. First with a monitor driver. Then driverless.

Here’s a plan for a solar-powered golf cart. It’s self-sustaining through advertising, but its real purpose is to provide a platform for live webcasting, free internet access, and emergency power for island residents.

The Nissan e-NV200 ($25K) can feed electricity back to the neighborhood in an emergency.

Location-based advertising is NOT rocket science. We could do it ourselves. Or have Octopus or Firefly manage it.

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.

Gotcha’s ride share service, using an electric Polaris shuttle, operates 7 days a week.

All rides within the 3 mile radius of the service area cost a flat $3 per passenger. They tried free service and it didn’t work. Riders can request a ride through the Gotcha app or flag down a Gotcha vehicle on the street. Gotcha is cash-less, so customers must use their cards to pay.

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 began in 2019. Aptiv and Hyundia joined forces in 2020 and renamed the group Motional, which is working with Lyft.

Canoo will be the first true steer-by-wire vehicle on the market. Riders use their own phone to control things that don’t actively move the vehicle, such as navigation, music, and heating and cooling.

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. Cellular-based C-V2X (Vehicle-to-everything) supports direct communication between vehicles (V2V) and between vehicles and infrastructure (V2I). C-V2X is available in LTE Release 14, the current cellular standard. It competes with the 802.11p-based Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) systems at 5.9 GHz, which some automobile manufacturers are pursuing.

An autonomous electric shuttle could run all day with very little overhead cost. Location-based advertising helps make it sustainable.

If pole-mounted Road Side Units (RSUs) are required for full autonomy, then shared wireless broadband, using the 3.5 GHz band could deliver both autonomous vehicles, AND much cheaper wireless broadband.

Boat and bike tracking using 900 MHz would go further with far better battery life. No M-LTE solution could compete with it.

Autonomous Shuttles are being tested RIGHT NOW:

LAS VEGAS Motional and Lyft operate the world’s longest-standing commercial robotaxi service in Las Vegas.

PHOENIX. Google’s autonomous vehicle arm Waymo launched a driverless ride-hailing service in 2018 in the Phoenix area.

COLUMBUS OHIO. Ohio’s first self-driving shuttle service begins on December 2018. 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 in 2018. 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).

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.

An ad-sponsored, human-driven free shuttle in the Jantzen Beach Mall might be worth a shot. It’s not very innovative but it could be practical. It could also be a platform to test autonomy.

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