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Self-Driving Cars Could Be Coronavirus-Killers

Since the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, the auto industry has worked to find new ways to increase customer confidence. But rideshare companies like Uber Technologies and Lyft have had a uniquely challenging time. Commuters have steered clear of rideshares amid the pandemic, but self-driving car startups are trying to keep business afloat.

Two self-driving car startups making big moves

Voyage has partnered with FCA to build self-driving minivans
Self-driving minivan | Voyage

Voyage and May Mobility are the two autonomous vehicle companies finding ways to help commuters feel safer in their rideshares. The two companies are installing UV-light emitters in their driverless vehicles to extinguish viruses, bacteria, and fungus. These measures are already being used in ambulances as AutoNews reports. 

The startups’ updated strategies are similar to Avis Budget Group’s partnership with Lysol creator Benckiser Group. Uber and Lyft have recently highlighted additional safety measures too. The disinfection customs also resemble what major airlines are doing in the skies due to COVID-19.

“Their solutions may seem niche, but building a somewhat profitable self-driving business, even if small, can be an effective strategy to raise funds and transfer their operational know-how to improve their technology at a faster pace,” BloombergNEF analyst Alejandro Zamorano-Cadavid said.

AutoNews

Introducing the Voyage G3 robotaxi 

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Voyage says its new G3 robotaxi is “designed for a COVID-19 world.” The California-based company is working with GHSP to create an ambulance-grade substance that can instantly disinfect its vehicles after each ride. Voyage first made headlines last year by bringing its self-driving car technology to California and Florida’s retirement communities.

In the spring of 2020, Voyage announced its partnership with FCA to deliver its driverless cars. The company repurposed the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid to build out its autonomous strategy. The modified minivan is more affordable than its previous vehicles, which offsets the UV ray disinfection system’s cost. Voyage is testing the new minivan in San Jose, Calif, and it won’t require a safety driver at all. 

The G3 is designed from the ground-up to be a safe, shared vehicle for passengers. COVID-19 has devastated ride-hailing businesses globally as human drivers pose an inherent transmission risk. For us, the pandemic challenged us to build a better-shared vehicle to keep our riders safe.

Voyage

May Mobility resumes business in Grand Rapids 

RELATED: Why Is There No Self-Driving Pickup Truck Prototype?

May Mobility was first inspired to develop its autonomous vehicles to reduce road congestion. This company operates driverless shuttles in several cities. May Mobility will officially launch its sanitation safety process in its vehicles based in Grand Rapids, Mich., beginning Aug. 31. 

Grand Rapids is a near-perfect destination for May Mobility to address traffic congestion in cities in towns. After all, Michigan is home to ‘Motor City‘ after all. May Mobility hopes to make long-term solutions with its self-driving car technology. But for now, the company is most concerned about minimizing coronavirus concerns in its vehicles.

“We have only scratched the surface. We believe that through a dogged commitment to exploring and deploying autonomous technology we will pioneer new technological solutions that will continue to advance mobility in unexpected ways.”

May Mobility