May Mobility raises $50M to develop autonomous shuttles

The Robot Report
May Mobility

An autonomous shuttle from Michigan-based startup May Mobility. | Credit: May Mobility

May Mobility, a Michigan-based startup developing autonomous shuttle services, closed a $50 million Series B round that was led by Toyota Motor Corporation. SPARX Group and returning investors Millennium Technology Value Partners, Cyrus Capital Partners, BMW iVentures, and Toyota AI Ventures also participated in the round.

May Mobility said the funding will help expand its fleet of autonomous shuttles and grow its engineering and operations teams. May Mobility has now raised about $84 million to date. It closed a $22 Series A round in February 2019 and an $11.5 seed round in February 2018.

May Mobility develops low-speed autonomous shuttles for the first-mile-last-mile transportation market. It currently has 25 all-electric shuttles operating Detroit, Grand Rapids, Mich. and Providence, RI. It wants to grow the number of vehicles to 25 per city.

Largest Autonomous Vehicle Investments of 2019

CompanyAmt. ($M)Lead InvestorDate
Argo AI2600Volkswagen AG7/11
Cruise1150Honda Motor Corp.5/7
Uber ATG1000Softbank Vision Fund4/18
Nuro.ai940Softbank Vision Fund2/11
Aurora Innovation600Amazon6/12
Weltmeister Motor450Baidu3/11
Xpeng Motors400Xiaomi Corp.11/15
Zoox200Convertible Note10/22
Innoviz Technologies170China Merchants Capital3/26

May Mobility said it has already provided more than 170,000 revenue-generating rides. Rather than selling its rides to customers, it provides a service to urban planners, property managers, developers, and municipalities that supplies the vehicles and handles ongoing maintenance.

In Providence, for example, electric shuttles offer rides along a fixed route that is 5.3 miles long. The service runs seven days a week from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM and includes 12 stops. Anyone is eligible to just get on an autonomous shuttle at a designated stop location. Here is a map that shows May Mobility’s route in Providence.

May Mobility

May Mobility’s operating route in Providence, RI.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Toyota and our other investors in this next phase of growth for our company,” said Edwin Olson, President and Chief Executive Officer of May Mobility. “This round will help us accelerate our path to executing our vision, leveraging our best-in-class software stack and continuing to tap into the $28 billion U.S. first and last mile transportation market.”

In addition to leading the round, Toyota selected May Mobility as one of its partners in the autonomous Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) segment for future open mobility platforms.

“May Mobility already has a track record of commercializing autonomous driving shuttles in the U.S., and we see this as an exciting opportunity to collaborate with a seasoned partner in this area,” said Keiji Yamamoto, Toyota Operating Officer and President of Toyota’s in-house Connected Company. He added, “By working together, we hope to accelerate our efforts at Toyota aimed towards realizing ‘Mobility for All’.”

Optimus Ride is a Boston-based startup similar to May Mobility. Optimus Rides’ all-electric, autonomous shuttles have a max speed of 25 MPH and are currently being tested in Boston’s Seaport District, South Weymouth, Mass. and at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York, among other locations. Optimus Ride spun out of MIT in 2015.

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Source: therobotreport

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