May Mobility raises $22 million for self-driving shuttles


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DETROIT — May Mobility, a self-driving shuttle provider based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has raised a new round of funding that will help the company expand its fledgling operations.

The company on Tuesday said it received $22 million during a Series A round co-led by Millennium New Horizons and Cyrus Capital Partners. Previous investors, including the venture capital arms of BMW and Toyota, also participated. Previously, May Mobility raised $11.5 million in a seed round of funding last February from seven investors.

In June, May Mobility began commercial self-driving service in downtown Detroit and has since started running routes in Columbus, Ohio. Human safety drivers remain aboard the company’s six-seat shuttles, which connect passengers along defined routes.

The company has plans to launch additional service in Providence, R.I., this spring followed by service in Grand Rapids, Mich., this summer.

May Mobility doesn’t sell its shuttles to customers. Instead, it provides turnkey service and maintains control of the shuttles and fleet management — one aspect of the company, which has caught the attention of cities and investors.

“Millennium has spent the past few years researching the mobility market, and May Mobility stands out to be the only company that has delivered a real-world, here-and-now transportation solution in a technologically feasible and economically viable manner,” said Ray Cheng, partner at Millennium New Horizons.

The company’s self-driving systems, which include hardware and software, are installed on shuttles based on the Polaris GEM platform. A cloud-based repository gathers information on vehicle diagnostics, ridership trends and fleet location.

Shuttles hold the potential to help solve the long-standing transportation challenge of connecting commuters with their final destinations — the so-called “first-mile, last-mile” problem. In Detroit, May Mobility’s shuttles began providing a link between parking garages and the offices of Bedrock, the commercial real estate firm owned by Dan Gilbert.

In Rhode Island, May Mobility shuttles are expected to run their longest routes to date — a 3-mile loop that connects a train station serviced by Amtrak in downtown Providence to the Olneyville Square neighborhood.

Rides in Providence are open to the public and free. The state is paying $800,000 for one year of service, according to the Providence Journal, $500,000 of which comes from the state’s share of a settlement from Volkswagen regarding the company’s cheating on emissions tests.

There’s not yet a time frame for starting service in Grand Rapids this summer. More sites for May Mobility deployments are expected to be announced this year.




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