Self-driving startup May Mobility raises $11.5 million from BMW i Ventures and Toyota AI Ventures to accelerate deployment of self-driving shuttle fleets
Self-driving startup May Mobility has raised $11.5 million from BMW i Ventures and Toyota AI Ventures to accelerate deployment of self-driving shuttle fleets. The funding will allow May Mobility to launch new deployments across the country. Other investors include Maven Ventures, SV Angel, Tandem Ventures, Trucks Ventures, and YCombinator. Founded by Alisyn Malek, Edwin Olson and Steve Vozar, May Mobility develops autonomous vehicles from the chassis up with a focus on system level safety design. The company plans to lead the industry with their system design approach and best in class user experience. The startup has raised $11.6 million in funding to date.
In a separate blog post, Toyota AI Ventures also announced it has partnered with BMW i Ventures to co-lead May Mobility’s latest seed funding round. The funding will help to jumpstart May Mobility’s expansion plans and help them hire even more talent. “We have demonstrated that our technology is highly capable, that riders love our vehicles, and that customers recognize the value of what we can provide,” said Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder. “Developers and cities know self-driving transit is the future, and our fast-growing team of top computer scientists and roboticists have developed solutions to some of the most difficult transportation problems.”
The Ann Arbor-based May Mobility was founded in early 2017 — and, within a matter of months, had successfully piloted its self-driving shuttle service on the streets of downtown Detroit — giving locals a chance to experience the autonomous future firsthand. The team is now looking to expand to other cities and states, using a fleet of low-speed electric Polaris GEM vehicles outfitted with sensors and May’s autonomous driving software. An October 2017 pilot with Detroit-based Bedrock was a key milestone in demonstrating the readiness of their technology for real-world operations.
“Vehicles and programs of all sorts are being announced or tested and trialed, but May Mobility is actually solving today’s transportation issues with self-driving vehicles on real city streets today,” said Uwe Higgen, Managing Partner at BMW i Ventures. “We invested in the team because they’re reducing the complexity of the problem to actually deliver autonomous mobility now, instead of years from now, and the feedback loop will be invaluable to the future of the industry.”
May Mobility’s team has deep experience in autonomous vehicles, with veterans from the DARPA Urban Challenge, the University of Michigan, Ford, General Motors and Toyota. The team combines both technical stars with business development and operations experts.
“We look to invest not just in the brightest ideas and teams in mobility, but in the best businesses,” said Jim Adler, Managing Director of Toyota AI Ventures. “We love that May Mobility is actively applying great technology to improve the quality of life in communities throughout the country. But it’s just as important that they’re signing paying customers that prove that the unit economics work.”
May Mobility combines their own autonomous vehicle stack, leveraging over a decade of technology development, with a full-service business model aimed at providing transportation services on a community scale. The result makes it easy for buyers — from business districts and educational campuses to municipalities or residential areas — to solve their transportation problems with autonomous vehicles that outperform traditional approaches on a wide variety of metrics. May Mobility brings communities closer together with fleets of self-driving vehicles that make short distance travel safe, personal, and effortless.